May 3, 2012

“You’re a blockhead, Charlie Brown!” When you read or hear that phrase, what comes to mind? A bald little boy sporting an ugly mustard shirt doing something that’s not quite right. And yet, who doesn’t love Charlie Brown? His goofy insecurities make us cringe when he can’t kick the football or direct a play, but there’s something about Charlie Brown that makes us cheer him on.

Writers need to build believable characters, but hopefully they can create a main character that readers will follow. By giving readers a reason to understand the character’s problems, the reader and the character can connect. The relationship that’s formed will keep the reader moving forward, finishing, and hopefully recommending your book.

If your character is a psycho teenage bitch, give us a reason to hope that she’ll change, or at least become tolerable by the book’s end. A main character can be bad, horrid even, but there needs to be an endearing flaw or a reason for their behavior.

We may still roll our eyes at Charlie Brown, but his intentions, however nerdy, resonate. There’s a bit of Charlie in all of us, even if we don’t admit it. In the end, we want to believe that there’s hope and possibility for growth.

Give us a blockhead we’ll love.

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