Strong Characters Leave Lasting Impression
Dracula. Harry Potter. Lennie Small (Of Mice and Men). What do these names have in common? They’ve left a memorable impression on readers. And there are hundreds more but these were the ones that popped into my head first while writing this post. Regardless if your character is the hero or villain, they need to leave an impact on your readers, a strong sense of connection or emotional depth in order for your fans to care enough and engage by turning those pages until the very end.
Every character plays some role in the book to move the plot forward. As in real life, your fictional world should emit a sense of time, a visual description that pulls readers into the pages, emotions that touch their core…never leave your fans looking from outside the window, but pull them into the storyline.
How can this be done? As mentioned above, with strong characters who have flaws, obstacles they need to overcome and face, situations where readers can see the slow changes in character beginning to flourish and grow. Never begin with a stick person and leave them as a stick person by the time you type THE END. That will only disappoint your reader.
Think of Harry Potter, this meek little boy who knew nothing of magic, who lived under a roof of relatives who treated him wrong, a boy filled with loss…then he met two special friends, was drawn into a game of hatred and death and had to grow otherwise what would have been the point to continue the series if Harry remained a meek little boy of obedience? By the end of the book, Harry grew with a purpose to his role he needed to play, fear no more an object of obsession but a strength he overcame to fulfill his duty. Along the way, the secondary characters also grew along with Harry, binding them to readers, caring for them, worried about their outcome. That’s what a memorable book needs to accomplish. Transformation of character profile is crucial. All of his changes came about with different obstacles he faced.
Some secondary characters may not have as much of a change as the main characters only because their profile suits that purpose. They’re comedic, serving as a break from the seriousness going on. Some are bumbling fools that help the main player without realizing it. There are needs for various profiles to make a book entertaining, not bunching up everyone with the same characteristics. You do this and readers lose interest.
- having different character profiles adds interest
- makes for a more enjoyable and memorable read
- offers strong characters who change by the time THE END comes to pass
- bonds readers to the characters
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