Character Empathy – Why Is It Important And How To Do It

By on July 22, 2020

If you want your protagonist to resonate with your readers, you need to make them care. Creating empathy for your main character isn't always easy, but it is critical to your book's success.

So how do you make that happen? Here are some helpful tips:

Give your character valuable traits

If you want your readers to like your protagonist, you must bestow them with traits that we, as a society, generally view as positive and covetable. Bravery, loyalty, generosity, kindness, humor, and forgiveness are all traits that we admire in others. If your protagonist displays these, we will warm to them quickly. Make sure you do this first before allowing the character to make a poor decision or choice that negatively impacts others.

Give your character skills

Making your character good at something is another way to help your readers empathize with them. Show readers their passions and their aptitude for certain things; this could be being particularly good at their job or having a hobby that they excel at.

Have your character treated unfairly

One fantastic way to increase character empathy is to create a situation where they are mistreated. Perhaps they are accused of something they didn't do? Maybe they are blamed without cause or oppressed by another character. This will make your readers feel protective of them, or outraged - they'll feel bad for your character and therefore empathize with them more.

Make your character's goal a noble one

Every good storyteller knows that characters need to have a goal that they are working towards. Make this goal something that is universally understood, and it will help reader's like them more and feel as though they share an understanding of the world.

Put them in a dangerous situation

If your character is suddenly thrust into danger, your reader will start rooting for them to come through it unscathed. You could also create a scenario where something terrible happens to them, and they are grieving or trying to overcome the loss. We've all experienced bad things in our lives, and your character going through them will help readers resonate with them more.

Make them unique and exciting

Your character needs to have some unique traits and be a little quirky or do things that are a bit off the wall to get your reader's attention. Make sure that you hold your reader's attention by allowing your protagonist to act unusually.

Make them face their fears, overcome obstacles and make changes

We all go through life having to face setbacks and overcome challenges; we all have things we'd like to change about ourselves to be better. By giving your character similar struggles, you'll create great empathy among your readers and ensure they care about what happens to them as the story unfolds.

By using the above techniques, you can encourage readers to engage and empathize with your characters. So the next time you are working on character development, use the above to guide you. Good luck!

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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