What Makes You Feel Connected to a Character?

One of the best opening lines I’ve read recently was:

“This job’s going to kill me.”

The Midnight Thief ~ Livia Blackburne
To read my full book review click here

This line hooked me into the story so fast that I was a hundred pages in before I realized it. Having a great opening line in a story is crucial to readers wanting to keep going. But IMHO it isn’t the biggest thing.

For me, what really drives a story is the author’s ability to take a fictional person and make them human. Those characters have the potential to become so real that you don’t feel like you’re reading. It’s more like you’ve become part of the story with them.

That is my hope as I continue to share my books with the world. And today I wanted to share my process for crafting my characters.

When creating my main characters, I ensure that they:

  • Have something special about them. (i.e. special skill, unique ability, unconquerable determination, etc.)
  • Have conflicting characteristics.
  • Have something to lose
  • Are proactive vs. reaction. The are the driver of the story and MUST take action in one way or another.
  • Are likable or redeemable

If I can hit those five points I have a great start to my character. The next phase is to do some of the following:

  • Must have a difficult problem/situation to solve.
  • Something worthy or desirable to gain
  • An interesting flaw (fatal flaws)
  • A terrible secret
  • A compelling enemy
  • Powerful or good at what they do
  • Terrible situation

Once I have a good enough feel for who my character is that I can get inside their heads, I head over to 16personalities.com and take a personality test from each Point of View character’s perspective. This is where the magic happens. If I know what my character’s positive and negative personality traits are, I can begin crafting scenes that allow them to struggle and see how they come out of it.

For example, I know that Nienna (who is an Advocate personality) cannot stand to see other people hurt. She will do everything she can to help those around her. When she’s overwhelmed; however, she will silently disappear. Being around too many people is over stimulating and it can make it feel like its hard to breath.

We can also look at Tellen (Logician personality turbulent) who likes order, rules to follow, and expects his pack of Pathfinders follow suit. When he runs into a problem he can’t solve right away, he becomes unsure of himself, and struggles with his self-esteem. He can be easily jealous and holds a grudge.

a digital art image of a man with curly black hair, olive skin, and a black outfit worn by characters of assassin's creed. He needs to hold a sword in his hand and have magic green sparks around him.

I hope you enjoyed this shallow dive into how I create the characters for my books, and if you’re a writer, come join me and my students as we go more in-depth on this and other topics!

Have a great week friends!

Vanessa Thurgood

Vanessa is the author of the Comstock Chronicles. She loves reading and writing and sharing both with you. You can follow her on Instagram to stay up to date with new releases and other news.

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