Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ten Ways to Create Character Empathy

Want readers to empathize quickly with your main character? If they don't, no matter how brilliant your plot, they won't care what happens. They have to care about the protagonist. Here are 10 ways to build that necessary empathy:

1. The character highly displays a valued trait such as loyalty, love, or courage. This is especially important if the protagonist soon makes a bad or questionable choice. It’s far easier to create empathy for a character right away than to erase negativity. Better to start at zero than minus ten. So before any negative choice, show the protagonist helping a child, tending a sick loved one, standing up to a bully for a friend, etc.

2. The character is ...

Read the rest at my column, Making a Scene, in the Feb. issue of Christian Fiction Online Magazine.


Sheila Deeth said...

Thanks. Since I've just started writing again I'm going to go back over that scene and see if it works.

Daniel Smith said...

As always, great insight.

I consider this an excellent checklist for enhancing Story. I'm already using 5 of the 10 in my current WIP (though not in the opening scene) but I can see room for improvement now. Thank you!

Sharon A. Lavy said...