The best characters are ones a reader relates to. The reader shares in their joy, celebrates their achievements and empathizes with their grief. Stephen King does an excellent job of making characters in his novels relatable. Readers share the terror the characters face in each sentence, for one reason only; Stephen King took the time to make the characters as real as possible.
In the novel Carrie, King uses various props to make the reader associate with Carrie, even if she is doing terrible things to other people. The reader empathizes with Carrie because she is a teenage girl who’s bullied by her peers. Her actions, however grotesque, are somewhat understandable to the reader.
So what sorcery does King use to make his characters appealing? Would you like to master his art and become the Gandalf of the fiction literature world? If you do, read on and learn the secrets of creating compelling characters for your next novel.
Give Your Characters A Desire that Drives Them
The bare minimum of any character worth a paragraph is that he or she must want something. The greater the desire, the more compelling your story becomes. With desire comes conflict, and you want a gargantuan conflict to drive your story, don’t you?
Infuse the characters with burning desires and you’ll find that the protagonist and the antagonist are naturally drawn to each other. Their actions along the way and the impact they have in your novel world give the reader a story so thrilling that they won’t be putting your novel down until they get to the last page.
Secrets are tasty treats in the fictional world. What’s the one thing that your character wouldn’t like others to know about her? Maybe the character has a history of drug abuse and if people ever found out it would ruin her world. That burning itch the character cannot scratch because they are embarrassed by it can drive the story of your novel. Use it to the fullest extent. The bigger the secret, the better the story.
No one would ever watch Superman if he didn’t have any vulnerability. If the Man of Steel couldn’t be hurt, he wouldn’t make for an entertaining story or movie. But because kryptonite and other aliens can whoop Superman around, we all flock to the movies to see how he will get himself out of the trouble this time round.
Make your characters vulnerable because readers will relate to that vulnerability and develop a connection with the characters. In fact, if you can make the vulnerability connect to your character’s secret, you’ve got a thrilling story simmering.
How do you create characters readers will just love? Let me know in the comments