Sympathetic Characters Part 1

Next up: Sympathetic Characters Part 2

Main Points:

  • You generally want all your characters to be “sympathetic,” including your villains.
  • Problems make a character sympathetic. IE Everyone loves an underdog
  • Relatability (IE everyman qualities) makes a character sympathetic because we see ourselves in them.
  • Expertness (IE superman qualities) makes a character sympathetic because we aspire to be like them.
  • Niceness makes characters sympathetic. But remember, even though villains are not nice people (typically), they can still be sympathetic if they have other things going for them.
  • Note: The Hero’s journey can be thought of as the journey from the everyman to the superman.
  • Note: Remember that a “super power” needn’t be “super” in the comic book sense. IE in Oscar Wilde plays the characters are super humanly skilled socially, in LotR Samwise is super humanly loyal.
  • Note: Characters must typically be more consistent in novels than people are in real life. If you do something out of character, you must foreshadow it somehow.