A long time has passed since I wrote the post What Would Stories Be Without Villains. The main theme of the post was that a really cool, clever, and powerful bad guy can make a story really attractive, exciting, and gripping. Now I’d like to talk to you about main characters; that is, about developing your good guys.
Like I said, a good villain can really impact just how good a story is on a number of levels. But I think everyone would agree that even more important than a well-thought-out bad dude is a likable main character. If we don’t like the hero we’re reading about or watching on the TV screen, chances are we’re going to have a number of problems with the story. We won’t enjoy the story, the exciting parts won’t effect us because we won’t care when the main character is in trouble, we won’t care how the story ends, and we’ll probably be happy when the story is over so we don’t have to keep on wasting our time.
Yes, the main character can impact a story a lot!
So how does one go about creating a main character? How do we give the audience the hero that they want? What about the hero that they need? How do we keep the audience’s undivided attention throughout the whole book or movie? Here’s the secret:
If you want the audience to like your main characters, you need to make them fall in love with the characters
Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean love in a totally real way. When I say “fall in love with the characters”, I mean that after the audience watches the first movie of a series, they’ll be dying to see the next because they enjoy, or even profit from, the actions and persons of the characters. Or when someone reads the first book of a series, they’ll be dying for the next book to come out. So how do you make your audience “fall in love” with your characters?
It all starts with you, the writer, the creator of the character. First you need to fall in love with your characters. You need to care about every time they are in danger. You need to feel compassion every time they’re upset. You need to have a desire to feel their, sadness, anger, joy, desires, hopes, and determination. Unless you can do this, how can you hope to accurately portray your character in a way that makes the audience love him or her? Treat your main character as you would your best friend; someone you know everything about (because you do), someone you always admire (because the main character usually has a good sense of morality), and someone who you always desire to feel for because you care about them. If you can display how you feel for your character in your writing, I know that your audience will, in one way or another, love your character like you do. And that’s one of the special talents of being a writer: being able to make an audience feel a certain way. Also, use that power to create an audience that loves your character, and they will be inspired to emulate the righteous actions of that character.
Good, now you’re helping people too 🙂
I love my main characters, and I hope you will also.
P.S. If you haven’t already, check out and like my Facebook page “Montairyus”.