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Sympathetic characters

January 28, 2009  Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, The Craft   2 Comments

The talented and lovely Lauren talks about sympathetic characters in her blog, Book in the Oven.

This is a post worthy of study to the writer.

Courtney Summers’ book, Cracked Up to Be also is a good study. Her main character, complete with appalling behavior, was sympathetic almost immediately. She did this is a sneaky fashion. Courtney, let it be known, is sneaky.

But I digress. Creating sympathetic characters is, I am convinced in a “hack writer” kind of way, a non-trivial literary accomplishment.

The Experts tell us the books people like to read need to be show and not tell. In doing so, it is easy to form a character in our minds that is almost as real as an actual person. So we place these literary people in our book, yet, in the guise of rushing to and fro for momentum and plot, it is easy to leave off the parts we know, as the writer, that the reader does not know.

Such as, why one should care about the character in the first place.

This is why having a beta reader or two is so important. It is not an easy thing to realize a character is unsympathetic, not because she actually is, but because of an unintentional error storytelling.

Check out Lauren’s post!

2 comments on: Sympathetic characters

  1. Peter January 28, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Excellent post.. and excellent references to the other blogs…

    Creating a character that the reader doesn’t like but still sympathizes with? That’s a silver chalice in my book… well not literally my book.. but … you know what I mean…


  2. bjkeltz January 28, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Her post is a good one. Thanks for the addition to the next Saturday Morning Post. 🙂

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