Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How do you make readers bond with your character?

I really like when I’m reading a book and bond with the character early-on. I think the earlier the better. As a writer, I’m cognizant of how important this is to the reader’s experience. If they don’t bond, the reader won’t keep reading. I need to make the reader care about the character enough to turn the pages.

Part of that is establishing what’s at stake for the character, but it’s also about making sure that I’m including details that help with the bonding. In other words, do I share enough about the character that the reader knows him and cares about him?

 These details might include:

Physical description: How many times have you read something and have no idea what the person you’re reading about looks like? I think that every reader likes a few hints. 

 Who is this person: Is he single, married? An only child? An orphan? Handicapped? Terrible at math? Likes comic books? In other words, share stuff that makes this person come alive in the reader’s mind.

 What is protagonist’s goal: What is it that the protagonist wants to accomplish? Find his mom who walked out on him when he was 3? Climb a mountain? Find the killer?

 As a writer, how do you foster this bonding? Can you name a character that you bonded with quickly?


  1. As an author you can develop a character 5 ways.
    a.) by his appearance (physical and clothes).
    b.) by his name (ex. Ichabod Crane)
    c.) by his actions (what he does)
    d.) by what he says (use lots of dialogue)
    e.) By what others say about him (There's a play - I forget title- of 2 characters talking about another character. Audience hates him by end of Act I. Funny thing is, he never appears on stage at all.)

  2. Now, to address your specific question. I need a strong narrative voice to hook me. I really like to hear the characters mind thinking...

  3. So true Buffy. I have so many books to read that if I'm not grabbed by the character and story, I put the book down. I think having a sympathetic character with flaws we can relate to and problems we sympathize with are keys to a good character