Anonymous said: How do I make a reader care about a character very quickly?
Take away something at the beginning. I saw a comic on Tumblr a long time ago about a woman who discovered she wasn’t real. The comic was short and it was just her inner thoughts. Just a few panels of her inner thoughts were able to make the reader sympathetic because something so integral to her was taken away and now her identity is shattered while everyone around her has something that she doesn’t. Do that to your character. Take something away from them that makes the reader feel bad for them.
It can be difficult to do this with everyday situations unless you show what it was like before that something was taken away. You can show your character in “the everyday world” at the beginning of the story and the inciting incident can happen right away. A common theme that makes readers care for a character is loneliness.
Give them something at the beginning. Or you can do the opposite. Show your character in a situation that makes the reader pity them and then fix it in a way that makes the reader feel happy for them. Again, a common theme for these situations is loneliness. The lonely rejected kid on the playground who is approached by another reject kid is a familiar scene that achieves this.
Introduce an antagonist. If you introduce an antagonist that the reader ends up hating right away, they’ll be more inclined to side with the protagonist.
Make them relatable. It’s quite difficult to make a character that almost anyone can relate to, but you can make a character a good chunk of people relate to from the very beginning. Think about the age of your character and relatable problems that surround that age. For example, identity, individuality, and relationships are important to teenagers. Introducing a character dealing with one of those issues from the very beginning can draw readers within that age group into the story.
Torture your character. Put them in a physically and/or emotionally painful situation at the beginning of the story. The trick is to make the scene honest and genuine enough that the reader wants this character to come out victorious.