Sympathetic Characters: The Struggle

— November 07, 2011 (8 comments)
One encouragement I keep hearing, regarding my querying, is that I "deserve" an agent. I like hearing that, for sure. But the last time I heard it I thought, "They haven't even read my novel. Why do they think that?"

And I think part of the reason is because you guys see me fighting for it.

Because there's something we love about a person who fights for what they want against all odds, who never gives up no matter how many times they get knocked down. This is why I love characters like Naruto and Zuko. This is why I like dancers like Twitch and Hok and Wadi, who try out for the competition two or even three years in a row.

Believe it or not, this post is about writing. You know how you want readers to root for your characters? This is one way to do it. Give them a goal, make them work hard for that goal, and make them fail.

Then make them get up and do it again.

If the reader believes in the goal and the character's attempts to achieve it, they will struggle with the character and root for them like nobody's business. And when they finally succeed, you will have a reader who stands up and shouts, "Yeah!"

And that is what you want.

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  1. so true, I think that's why the last novel I wrote is still as engaging as it is as I'm revising it, that's one of the things I got really right in this one. :)

  2. So, so good, Adam! Keep up the good fight! I love your application to characters, too. This is a great way to look at it. Very inspiring!


  3. Very inspiring. I won't lie, sometimes it gets a little tired fighting, scraping and scrambling to get to that goal. But the end is so worth the work it takes the get there. You appreciate it more.

    And I LOVE Hok...just saying.

  4. Been missin ya, homie. Don't have time to blog (or read em) these days, but I wanted to stop in and say hi.

  5. OH YES! Victory is much sweeter when you have to fight for it. Still rooting for you :).