Thursday, May 5, 2022

Relatable Characters...

 Hey everyone! Dropping back in here to say hi, how's it going and whatcha working on?

My title today is relatable characters. I had written a blog post about it back in the day, but when I look at it now, yeah, lots of ramblings going on there. What can I say. I'm a pantser in everything I write!

So let's talk about relatable characters and how they get into and out of trouble in your stories.

People read to escape. They watch TV, play video games, watch movies, all to escape their problems in the real world. Yet, they still want to be able to relate to what they're watching or listening to at the moment.

I'm going to take a moment here to talk about the new Reacher series on Amazon Prime. No, I'm not getting paid for this promotion.

That show kicks ass. In a LOT of different ways. First of all, Alan Ritchson plays a much better Reacher character than Tom Cruise ever could. 

First of all, Tom is kinda short, he's not as muscular. Tom's portrayal of Reacher is more of an intellectual, than physical.

Alan, on the other hand, seems more believable to me as Reacher. He's got the build, the expression, the attitude all down pat. If I had never watched either actor's portrayal before, and then watched them side by side, I would connect more with Alan's portrayal. Hands down.

Why? Because I can see him having more strength than "boys his age", as the character's mother put it. I believe his military skills more than I would Tom's portrayal. I can relate to Alan's portrayal easier than Tom's.

People want that connection. They look for it in all their escapes.

How do you make your characters relatable? What troubles do they get into that they have to get out of in a way that would be relatable to your readers? And no cheating, because your readers will know. A lot of the time, they're looking for solutions as well, and it makes them think; if your character can get out of trouble in a logical way, so can they.

You have to connect your characters with readers on multiple levels. Emotional, physical, intellectual. Your reader wants to believe that this fictional character, the one that's entertaining them, could also teach them a few things about life. How to look at it, how to solve some of the problems. Even if it's a Sci-Fi or Fantasy story, people get through tough times in a lot of different ways.

So I ask again, how do you make your characters relatable? What tips and tricks can you offer up to help other authors to create these soon-to-be memorable characters?

Watch people. See how they act, react, and interact.

Think about how you would get yourself out of a fictional jam.

How open minded are your characters? Why?

Introverted vs extroverted; how do your characters cope?

Finally, don't be gun-shy over the stigma of mental illness. As much as is happening in this world today, stop making it more of a hush topic and get messages out there to your readers that it's okay to get help.

These are all just my thoughts and suggestions. Leave me a comment below and tell me how you make relatable characters!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Reacher is a great show and yes, Ritchson is a much more believable Reacher. (I've read a couple books and wondered why they chose Cruise. He really didn't fit!)

Mel Chesley said...

Omgoodness, right? Maybe because Cruise was popular at the time? No idea