How to Encourage Readers to Invest in Your Story By Crafting Relatable Characters

 

Kristen Kieffer

We want readers to connect with our characters, to step inside their shoes and invest in their journeys.

But creating that easy connection between reader and character isn’t always a clear-cut process. Do our characters need to be, in some way, relatable for readers to connect with their stories? In my opinion, yes, but perhaps not in the way you might think.

Today, writer, let’s cut through the chaos and get straight to the point. If you want to encourage readers to invest in your characters’ journeys, here are two key tips you don’t want to miss!

Do characters truly need to be relatable?

Whether your character is a noble-hearted everyman, a thieving anti-hero, or a mustache-twirling villain who’s somehow managed to snag the spotlight, if you want readers to invest in their journeys, your characters need to be relatable. Yes, even the most morally-bankrupt of characters requires a shred of humanity if you want readers to buy into their stories.

And that is exactly what makes a character relatable: their humanity.

Forging the reader-character connection is all about encouraging readers to empathize with your characters in some way. For readers to extend empathy, they must recognize the humanity in your characters’ experiences or circumstances. In doing so, they’ll come to understand your character’s actions — even if they aren’t always to be admired — and to care about their fates.

With that established, one question remains: How can we craft characters with whom readers can empathize?

Two Tips for Crafting Relatable Characters

There will always be readers who won’t like your stories, who find your characters bland or insufferable and so choose not to lose themselves in the pages of your book. This is okay. In fact, it’s something all writers should keep in mind as they work to intentionally . . .   See More . . .

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