There’ll be a day for everything
to cry, laugh, sing, explore
hope, love, regret, despair
to fly and dive and swim
the’ll be a day for everything
darling, and I don’t mind living
but I’d give all those days for
every night with you.
—  p.k. – a day for everything 
Forcing Readers To Like Characters: Recognition

So far in this series on how to force readers into an emotional relationship with the characters in a story we’ve looked at the various ways to create sympathy.

Another technique is to create a character that the reader feels they recognise and relate to. Someone who’s dealing with things that strikes a chord with the reader’s own experiences.

However, this does not mean the reader will only identify with characters who are similar to themselves. If that were true, every story would only have a very limited readership. And any story set in an unfamiliar world would be rejected immediately. Clearly that is not the case, so what is it that readers do identify with?

 

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Why don't people understand that straight woman just don't look at each other like that?

I’m not a saint.
I’ll let you kiss me wherever you want
and make my body your own treasure
map using my tattoos as your clues.
I’ll reek of cigarettes whenever you’re
near me, and I won’t look good in the
mornings where we wake up next to
each other.
I don’t have long lashes
to batt you with for favours.
I don’t have the perfect way
of saying things and I have this tendency
to stutter whenever I look at
your angelic face.
I’ll never be the person you’d think of the
right the moment you get punched in
the face, and it’s all because you know
how worried I’ll be.
You’ll only see me as the girl who
makes you feel alive.


But I’ll keep your wrist locked with mine
wherever we go,
to let people know that I’m yours,
and you’re mine.
I hope that’s enough for you to stay.

—  a.s. 

I thought there was something very mysterious about him, something impregnable and he made sure it stayed like that for good. I was never satisfied with being told that because whatever was mysterious should always stay like that. I like following rules but this one never seemed fathomable enough to me. When I caught him zoning out a couple of times when we’re together, the way he always trails off while saying something like he remembered that he can’t talk about it and how he’s so careful with every move because when he moves wrongly it hurts him, not to mention the new shirts he started wearing, they’re all long-sleeved and he never liked them. I decided to follow him the other day. On the way back home he seemed so hesitant, unsure of whether to keep moving towards it or not. When he went inside I watched from the window how he was talking to his father. Stiff and emotionless. If I’m not mistaking it, he called his father “sir”. That’s when his father stood up and hit his jaw. He tried to protect his face but his father’s fist was a lot faster than he’d imagined.


I knew for sure I could never get inside while his father was beating him, especially that he started whipping him with his own belt. His father dragged him, as he was half conscious to somewhere inside and I couldn’t get a glimpse of them again. for over half an hour waited I, hidden behind a tree. When his father went out, on his own with the car I knew it was safe even if for a very short time. I ran and tried to open the front door but it was locked, so was the one at the back. I literally orbited the house looking for a way in when I found an old stair on the ground of their garden, I supported it on the wall leading to Isaac’s room and climbed up. Thank goodness for keeping the window unlocked! I wandered in the room and the other one but I didn’t find any sign of Isaac. I decided to get out from the front door and actually leave it opened to scare Mr. Lahey but then I remembered how he can hurt his son for something like that. On my way back to Isaac’s room I saw a door which probably leads the basement, my curiosity got thr best of me and I broke in to it. Even this was normal and had no sign of life.


I’d turned my back to get out but I stopped once I heard something hitting in the walls of the freezing chest. It happened again but this time there was a muffled scream accompanying it. I knocked on its top twice and the same scream with hitting came back. The chest had a metal lock on it, I looked around and saw a big hammer on a high shelf. I jumped a couple of times trying to hold it or drop it and unfortunately it fell on my toe, I screamed and held the hammer. After trying seven times to break the lock, it paid off. The lock was finally broken and the hits and screams stopped momentarily but only to be replaced with a sharp voice. I opened the chest and found Isaac half-sitting half-lying. When his eyes met mine the same sob-like voice escaped from his lips. I felt humiliated because I should have never seen him like that. I shouldn’t have known the secret he’d been keeping. Stretching my arm for him to hold on to, I felt the shaking of his body then I realised that I was the only thing supporting his weight. I couldn’t keep holding him any longer he was slipping from my arms, I sat him on the floor and went to the bathroom looking for first aid, I brought some bandages and a sterilizer. Then I brought him a cup of water from the kitchen, along with a painkilling pill I found in their first aid as well.


He’d been very obedient and helpful when I put him the bandages on and sterilized his wounds, I gave him the painkiller and the water cup. I stayed with him holding his hand and praying he can’t feel it. Alas! He got himself back together and spoke moments later. “What have you seen?” He asked. “Does it matter? I saw what I saw.” I replied harsher than I meant to. “You need to leave before he shows up. He’s a monster he might kill you!” He croaks. “I wasn’t waiting for you to say thanks or anything but I wasn’t expecting that sort of welcoming.” I teased him to lighten up the tension. “Thank you.” He whispered. “I said I didn’t want that.” I smacked his shoulder slightly which made him flinch. “You’re not looking at me as the pathetic kid I am.” He murmured.
“Maybe it’s because you’re not that pathetic kid, Isaac.” I held his hand again hoping he could feel the same sparks that are firing inside me. We stayed facing each other for a long time before he tried to get up and fell down on top of me. His face was so close that I could see nothing in him except his glowing eyes and his appealing lips. He closed the finitely small gap between us with his lips on mine, kissing me passionate enough to make my hands go twice as numb as my feet that he accidentally had become lying on.

Shouldn’t every leader read Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” for its studies in the dangers of tyranny and betrayal and hubristic ambition, as well as the power and limits of rhetoric? Of course it’s also a pleasure to read, chock-full of great speeches and sweet turns of phrase that seem to comment on every facet of human existence.— Chang-rae Lee

I am the words thought but never said
the fallen leaves crushed beneath your feet
a child’s chalk masterpiece, washed away by the storm
snow preserved in shadow, before the sun rises
the reason you walked into a room but didn’t remember why
musings of a writer scribbled upon a napkin, lost once food is served
dust of a decayed home, abandoned full of memories
imprints of delicate feet upon a long forgotten trail
an artist’s doodles, washed away with a child’s art
I am the forgotten, now meaningless.

— (s.r)

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