Monday, June 4, 2012

Making Character Connections

I recently moved to another state. Maybe you’ve done that before and we have a low-level connection already going but you’re probably thinking, So what? What if I added that I might only be here for six months; I don’t really know. A slight curiosity causes you to wonder why. Now I’m going to add the fact that this temp job could be extended or my husband and I could be back to seeking employment in a bad economy where we still have a mortgage to pay and we’re missing the children and grandchildren we left behind. Starting to feel for me? Worry is a great connecting factor. As mentioned in my post two weeks ago, the faster we worry, the faster we bond.

I am the main character in my new adventure. What makes people care about me or I them in this temporary situation? I asked myself this after attending a social with a group of people who didn’t know me. Some made a connection with me right away and others didn’t. I analyzed the methods and related it to getting to know the main character in a novel.
Observations. Something is different or out of place that we notice and become curious about. Who is the guy in that fantastic jacket? We move in for a closer look.
Conversation. No matter who initiated it, conversation was the typical way to begin a connection. Interesting information is exchanged a little at a time from all participants, not lopsided info dumps.
Interests. Connections were strengthened when we hit upon one or more common interests. We feel both comfortable enough to continue the pleasantries.
Surprises. If one of us shared something that the other knew little about but found fascinating, the connection propelled beyond the common interest into stimulating the intellect. “You’ve been to Japan? I’ve never wanted to go there but you might just change my mind.”
Personalities. The “chemistry” of person’s aura, shared or opposite, that we find alluring or intriguing. This can mean romantic or platonic interest. It can be hard to show.
Worry or Danger. We’ve already touched on this. Appeal to the human desire to help.

What have you used to aid a reader in connecting to a character? Was it from real life inspiration?


Liesel K Hill said...

Great post, Renae! These are some great points. I know I use conversation, which is real life inspiration. I also use mystique to pique my reader's interest. I don't know if that's from real life, though, as most people I know where everything out on their sleeves. :D

Renae W. Mackley said...

I love the mystique one. I suppose it could be included in surprise or personality but the name alone brings a clearer picture. Good one and thanks, Liesel

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've often thought that if we, in real life, could get into the heads of the people around us, how much more sympathy and understanding and supportive we'd be. Good luck with the job!

Renae W. Mackley said...

Words of wisdom, Donna. Thanks.

J. A. Bennett said...

I think the best way to make other people understand your character is their interaction with everyone else in the story. No better way to showcase a person's personality than to get them talking :)

Renae W. Mackley said...

I agree that this is the best way to connect throughout the entire story. Dialogue can do multiple tasks. I don't think it is my favorite for the initial first paragraph hook, but probably the most useful tool overall. Thanks, J.A.