Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Like-able Characters

What am I reading now?  The Selection (Kiera Cass)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Not everyone wants to be royalty. America Singer doesn't want to be. Not interested. Not going to even try. There's a lottery that brings 35 girls together for the chance to win Prince Maxon's heart, crown and social cast (#1--royalty).

It seems like America would jump at that since she is in cast #5 and often doesn't have enough to eat or even stay warm. But she has her heart set on marrying Aspen Leger. He's in caste #6, hard labor, just steps away from being destitute or homeless.

What she wants changes when her name is drawn in the lottery and she is sent to a sort of "Bachelor Royalty-style" competition and reality tv show. Only in this game--the winner will marry the prince and everyone will have to live with that consequence.

Creating Like-able Characters

You can tell by my past few blogposts that I'm working on the underpinnings of a new novel. Now that I know a little about my characters (see post on June 8th), how to make them strong ( May 15th), possible conflicts to escalate in the plot (May 29th) and the overall story and scene questions  to tackle (May 22nd), I'm ready to dig a little deeper. 

I'm going back to character development today--how to make the main character like-able. Here are just some possible ways:
Make the character someone the reader can identify with by having similar background, values or lifestyle
Make the character have a worthy goal or just trying to do the right thing
Give her/him abilities or talents we can admire
Put them in a situation that seems threatening or unfair
Have them interact with someone who loves them, we'll love them by association
They're nice
They've experienced a tragedy and we empathize with how they are trying to pull it all back together
The character is taking charge of things, not waiting around for someone else to solve the problems

No, I don't think our characters must be like-able at all times, but enough that the reader is willing to read on and is interested in knowing what happens to them.

Thought of the Day:


Gussie said...

The Selection sounds like Cinderella meets Hunger Games. I think it's important to have likeable characters, but I'm struggling to keep them from being stereotypical. Any suggestions for that?

Becca said...

Thanks for your ideas on this. I'm going to be talking about character as I help with a summer writing camp for kids. Can I use some of these character ideas if I credit you?

Canda said...

Feel free, Becca. These aren't my original ideas just picked up over the years.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Good stuff here, Canda. If they're sympathetic even when screwing up, I will stick with them. Example: John Cleaver.