Popular crime writer, Mary Higgins Clark, once wrote: “I like to create people the reader can root for.”   This is the essence of writing  fiction.

We all wish that Romeo could overcome the Montague-Capulet feud and win Juliet; for Dr. Jekyll to conquer his alter-ego Hyde; for the wronged Count of Monte Cristo to get revenge on the men who sent him to prison. We all do. In every story, readers must pull for somebody, a character with whom they can empathize.

So how do you make the reader identify with a character?    Put your character in some sort of difficulty or peril or dilemma.   What makes us root for a character in fiction is the same as in real life?  Because he has the kind of problem that may happen to any of us.  Because he/she is striving mightily to overcome his misfortune.  We can empathize with the goal, whatever it is. The character shows no self-pity, and exhibits humor, courage, intelligence and determination.

So think of the story you are writing. Does your protagonist have an important problem?  Is he/she trying to solve it by his own efforts? Is the goal something the reader wants him to attain?

Show that you care deeply about the characters you have created, and the readers will find themselves caring along with you.  Happy writing.

My latest novella “Searching for Sarah” is now available, either on Amazon or direct from me at  I am always happy to hear your comments or to help you with any writing problem of your own.


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