Several things help to create Lovable and Enduring characters. Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. A Lovable character has to Believable. Such a character must be as realistic as it’s possible. Then there is an instant connection between the reader and character. He or she has to belong to a world the readers can identify. He or she has to have a real set of problems, much like the problems that haunt us.
2. A Imperfect Character who has several flaws and shortcomings endears himself to the readers. Perfect characters or characters with very few flaws have an artificiality about them. We have an instant dislike for these superior than thou creatures. We love people who are as flawed as us.
3. A character who is not afraid of Failure is one every reader will love. This character will sacrifice everything to win the conflict, a lot like Harry Potter. This character intensifies the tension with his or her determined attitude to plough through, inspite of the odds stacking up against him/her.
4. A character not scared to show his or her Emotions. Afterall when a reader is following you page after page, they need to see you warts and all. They need to see your joys as well as sorrows, your fears as well as strengths, your worries and concerns.
5. A character who encounters both Success and Failure is one readers identify with. Isn’t life all about the highs and lows. The lows the protagonist undergoes makes us rejoice when he or she experiences a high. If a character keeps tasting failure without a bite of success, then the readers label him or her as a loser. And if the character only meets with success, then he is labeled as an overachiever, and the readers somewhere start resenting him.
6. A character who has several Inner Demons to conquer. This is as realistic as it can get and also becomes a mirror image of all of us. Life is all about conquering fears. We have as many inner conflicts to overcome as external conflicts to battle. And our fights with our inner demons is a constant one.
7. A character who arouses our Sympathy and wriggles his/her way into a corner of our heart forges a bond : albeit a bond of sympathy. James (James and the Giant peach), Mathilda, poor Harry Potter mistreated by his uncle and aunt, and bullied by his cousin, all wormed their way into our hearts.
8. A character who is slightly Mysterious; has several layers to his personality which have not yet been revealed, wins over anytime. The motives of such characters are not revealed immediately. The intrigued reader is curious to know more about the character and sticks on despite the plot slackening in places.
What do you think goes into creating lovable and enduring characters? Which trait in a character appeals to you the most? How do you go all go about creating a well rounded character, a character readers will love? We all are eagerly awaiting your tips to perfect our own characters.