August 26th, 2012

neutral

Character Connection

Here's an essay about sympathetic characters and political correctness followed by a counterpoint essay.

I don't think political correctness is killing the way we read.  I think rising awareness of diversity, oppression, and cliches is making readers demand more diverse and respectable characters.  If anything is damaging readership, anti-intellectualism is doing more damage.

That said, character connection is crucial.  If your story doesn't have anybody for the reader to root for, it has less chance of working at all.  Why would a reader want to spend time in a story with characters they don't like?  That's usually not much fun.  Now, that doesn't mean all the characters have to be nice.  Sometimes it's possible to make rather horrible people into sympathetic characters, particularly if you've hit them with a truck for your hero to scrape off the pavement, or if they've made a ghastly mistake that they later try to fix.  Sheesh, I managed to get people behind a former God of Evil.  It's kind of a fun challenge to look for sympathetic characters in the least likely places possible.