Characters are critical for stories that resonate. Why? Because characters are the conduit that connects the reader and vests them in the story problem. They’re the emotional touchstone that allows for catharsis, because—when written well—it doesn’t matter if the character is a space alien or a federal agent, we (readers) can relate to them in some way.
We can’t empathize with technology, spaceships, magic, or nuclear submarines. Humans can’t bond emotionally to a place (without the characters as the connection).
For instance, we CARE about Lord of the Rings’ Middle Earth because we care about Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf. And, because Frodo, Samwise and Gandalf care deeply for Middle Earth and the Shire…we do as well.
Story is like the wall socket that’s connected a tremendous power source. But, how useful would those wall sockets be if all the gadgets in everyday life didn’t have plugs? How useful would a bunch of dead gadgets be?
We cannot have story without characters and can’t, conversely, have characters (DIMENSIONAL characters) without story.
Readers read stories, but great stories read the readers.
***I know we’ve talked about all this before, but since I am pathologically honest, I feel the need to tell on myself. I cracked a back tooth and had major dental work last week. With all the drugs? I actually have a completely new post almost finished, but it’s been like pulling teeth…bada bump snare.
So please forgive the refresher.