“10 Shortcuts to Make Your Main Character Vulnerable and Lovable” by Joan Y. Edwards
If your main character has everything he needs, take the most significant thing from him. Pick his pocket. Get it out of his closet or take it off the shelf. Turn your main character’s world upside down. Let me explain.
For instance, some children must have their blanket with them wherever they go. Baby Bop called hers Blanky. Others may call it Wooby, as did the people in the movie, Mr. Mom. It is their security blanket. If they can’t touch it, they become emotionally unglued and devastated. Here’s the definition of Wooby from Urban Dictionary:
(noun) Security blanket, teddy bear, or any physical item (for children) or emotional feeling (for adults) that gives you that safe, fuzzy, warm aura.
Take your main character’s security blanket away. You want him to become emotionally unglued and devastated enough to change in order to reach his goal.
- If your character is addicted to a schedule, change it.
- If your character is addicted to coffee, have a coffee shortage.
- If your character is addicted to fancy, expensive clothing, have him spend time with the homeless with a torn T-shirt and a pair of shorts.
- If your character needs to have his wallet with him at all times, have him lose it.
- If your character needs a car to get to where he’s going, have it break down.
- If your character needs to have a security system to feel safe, have a storm knock it out.
- If your character depends on another character for his money, have that character disappear and make him have to get a job.
- If your character is a runner who needs good running shoes, have someone switch his shoes to one of a smaller or larger size.
- If your character needs an alarm clock, break it.
- If your character needs a great hair style, have the hairdresser chop it off.
When you take away your main character’s security blanket, he will have to deal with his anger, loss, and will have to make changes to reach his goal. When you take away his security blanket, he becomes vulnerable. Readers relate to vulnerable characters. A reader might say, “I can’t stand to be without my lucky pen, I understand how he feels.” When readers find characters similar to them, they are drawn to them and find them lovable. Try it. You’ll like it.
Here are more of my blog articles about characterization. I hope that they inspire you with great ideas for your life and your writing.
- Any Job Is Easy, If You Have the Right Tools
- Desire That Clashes with Values Equals Conflict
- Do You and Your Characters Follow the Crowd’s Emotions?
- Eight Character Archetypes to Emphasize the Conflict in Your Story
- Inner Motives Lead to Conflicts of Characters
- Is Your Main Character’s Head Filled with Lies?
- Know Your Main Character
- Make Your Character’s Actions Show Emotions
- Negative Behaviors Are Clues to Your Personal Needs and Those of Your Characters
- Props for Characters: Toys, Games, and Other Items
- Pull Readers in – Show Believable Emotions in Your Writing
- Put Dilemmas in Your Stories for a Compelling Punch
- Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story
- Put Your Main Character into a Pit and Watch Him Devise Ways to Get Out
- Put Your Readers in an Emotional Tug-of-War
- Shortcuts to Make Your Main Character Vulnerable and Lovable
- Show Emotion and Conflict in Your Writing
- Show the Inner and Outer Conflicts of Your Characters
- Ways to Make Your Characters Memorable and Enticing
- What Is Your Story’s Premise? Editors Want to Know
- What’s a Sidekick? What’s His Job?
- What Will It Cost? An Arm, a Leg, and Your First Child?
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Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
Filed under: Writing | Tagged: Addiction, character, characters, Clothing, Comfort object, deal with anger and loss, Footwear, make your main character lovable, make your main character vulnerable, Protagonist, turn your main character's life upside down, wooby |