Compelling characters create connections

Every author wants characters you, the reader, believe in, root for, love, or hate.

You want your reader to care about your characters, no matter how prolific or damaged they are, and you do that by establishing a connection between character and reader.

I’m willing to bet that most people who drive by a terrible accident are either irritated from the delay in traffic, or curious as to the extent of the carnage. Few feel more than that towards those involved because of a lack of connection with them

How do you build that emotional bridge? Here are two ways I found to be effective:

  1. Use a character profile. The one I use is LONG (about 250 questions), but the thought it provokes adds layers to your characters. For a copy of the one I use, e-mail me (brian[at]authorbrianthompson[dot]com) and I’ll send it to you. Add these details in sparingly, not all at once in an information dump, and it adds flavor to your cast.
  2. When creating your character, ask yourself “who cares?” Authors tend to think readers should care about our characters because we say so. Compelling characters create connections. Complicate his/her life en route to his destination.

Darrion James is the protagonist of my first novel, The Lost Testament. He’s divorced, financially ruined, outed as a mulatto passing for white, and is scheduled to be evicted in less than 24 hours. He boards a train and is robbed of his meager possessions. A mysterious passenger shows him The Lost Testament and she’s killed shortly thereafter. Now, suspecting he’s a fugitive, he is stranded in the segregated town of his youth. The only person he knows is his mother, whom he has not seen in over twenty years.

You still may not care about Darrion, but aren’t you interested to see what happens to him?

Give it a shot and let me know how it works out 🙂

Brian Thompson’s passion is motivating and encouraging others to write and to pursue Do-It-Yourself publishing. He is also author of the Christian fiction thrillers The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.

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