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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Likable characters

You don’t want your protagonist to be perfect—repeat after me, Perfect is boring—but you do need your protagonist to be likable.

Think to yourself what makes your friends and family likable. What traits, actions, feelings, morals? What do you most admire in others?

Give those characteristics to your protagonist.

Look at other books, plays, and movies and take note at how the author makes the character likable (or fails to make the character likable).

For example, in Jane Austen’s Emma, the heroine is mistaken in her observations and decided in her head-strong opinions, yet she is likable because she often shows genuine love for her silly friend Harriet, acknowledging how Harriet’s open and heart-felt manner makes her a better person than Emma herself.

Emma is certainly not perfect—if she were, the story would be only a couple chapters long—but Austen makes her likable with actions and traits that make the reader respect and admire her.

Make your own characters strong, flawed—and likable.

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