How do I get readers to care about my character?

by Natasha
(Beacon, New York)

Hi, its me, Natasha again. I just recently changed my plot the last time I submitted a question. I know what my plot is now. My question now is, how do I get readers to care about my main character? The plot of the story is that the main character wants to rebuild the connection to his brother. His brother is too busy growing up, having and raising kids and such.

(This story is through the viewpoint of an animal too, I just thought I might add that.)

I'm having a hard time writing chapter one as I don't know how to get my readers to like the main character. How should I show it, given my plot line above?

Answer: So the main character is an animal?

Regardless, here are a few things you may consider that can make a character likeable...

1) Put them in a situation the reader can sympathize with. We all relate to being an underdog, for example, being rejected, being disapproved of, or feeling guilty over mistakes.

2. Give them qualities the reader may share. For instance, if you are writing for a YA audience, it helps if your character has the same kind of anxieties or problems common to many teens--e.g. peer pressure, being accepted by peers or your crush, bullying, pressure from parents.

3. Give the character qualities your reader will likely find admirable, such as moral values, charm, confidence, determination, wit, etc.

4. Give the character a flaw that shows they have the same human frailties (even if the character is an animal) that most readers do.

5. Make the character heroic (this ties in with being admirable), someone with special status or abilities (as long as they are not egotistical), or someone who gets to do things the reader would love to do (e.g. be a rock star, drive race cars, have adventure).

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