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The 5 Elements of a LIKABLE Main Character

“I don’t like your main character. He’s kind of obnoxious.” my beta reader laughingly told me, after reading the first chapter of my novel.

On the surface, I looked like this: 

Inside, I looked like this: 

Aloud, I said “Oh, well, he’s kind of hard to understand. He changes by the end.”

Inside, I screamed “How could you not like him?! Do you have a heart?! Is there a void where your soul should be?! Are you actually a Dementor that’s really good at makeup? Well, I guess this is what the Dementors are doing after getting kicked out of Azkaban!”

Outside: “But I really enjoyed it!” *Hugs between broken writer and Dementor in disguise* “Thank you for reading!" 

But you know what? That person that might be a soul-sucking cloaked demon creature? They were right. The character was unlikable, or more accurately, there was no reason to cheer him on. There was nothing to make the reader connect with him, relate to him, transfer themselves into his story, feel affection towards him. 

And if the reader doesn’t connect with the character through empathy? Nothing else in the story can work. Everything relies on this one fictional person. The basic definition of story is "A flawed hero with a goal overcoming obstacles to reach that goal, and how that journey changes them.” So without character, you don’t have story. Without empathy from the reader, you don’t even have character. 

So what is empathy when it comes to characters? 

It’s the process of a reader transferring their own lives onto the character. When this happens, the character’s goal and inner desires, values and weaknesses, everything about them, become proxies for our own. We learn of a shared piece of human nature between us, something we have in common on a significant inner level, and suddenly we want to see this character succeed. Because now, they are us – and we want to see ourselves succeed in real life. We feel what they feel, we experience what they experience.  

The best way to sum up character empathy in my opinion, is this quote from C.S.Lewis: “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another ‘Really? You too? I thought I was the only one!’”

That’s empathy. 

Which doesn’t mean the character has to be an angelic little cherub …

There are characters that operate in a moral gray area, there are characters that are downright awful, there are characters that shouldn’t be lovable …but we love them. So this is NOT saying that a main character has to be a perfect angel that rescues baby squirrels when they’re not busy volunteering at the local soup kitchen, it just means there’s something WORTHWHILE in the character that persuades the reader to stick around. We need a reason to relate with that at-first-glance unlikable character. Just as we have flawed people in our own lives who we can forgive and love.

A good quote for this one would be this, by G.K.Chesterton: “That’s the great lesson of Beauty and the Beast; that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.”

So how does a writer accomplish a good empathetic connection?

Luckily for us, establishing this only takes a little planning in the beginning of the story. Certain elements foster empathy, elements which you can give to your character and display in the story. Making sure to incorporate a few of these will ensure that first connection between reader and character. A connection which you, the author, will then be able to grow. It’s this tiny first note of shared humanity which deepens into those important links we hold with characters. We’re living people, they’re imagined and comprised of words on a page; yet these people can be friends to us, family, mentors, role models, and become some of the most influential people in our lives. 

And how does that begin? Evoking empathy. 

And how do you evoke empathy? Well here are the characteristics that human beings instinctively identify with and admire … 

– Courage (This is the one EVERY main character should possess. Gumption to pursue what they want separates main from background characters.)

– Humor (Wit charms us without fail.)

– Goal-Obsessed 

– Hard-working  

– Noble motivations

– Loving

– Loved by others

– Kind 

– Treated unfairly

– In imminent danger, physically

– In imminent danger, emotionally

– In a sorrowful situation

– Smart/Expert at something

– Suffering from psychological weakness  

– Haunted by something in their past

– Dissatisfied with current state of their life

– Lacking something like love, friendship, belonging, family, safety, freedom, etc

It’s a good plan to give your main character at least FIVE of these empathetic little “virtues.”

If this sounds like a resume, that’s kind of what it is. “Dear Potential Reader, I’m applying for the job of Main Character of this book series. I aspire to consume your every waking thought and drastically change your life, for better and worse.” It’s a diagram of the worthwhile traits of the hero, the characteristics that win us over, which promise the reader “If you follow my story, knowing me – and experiencing the story through me – will be well worth your time.”

These traits will be displayed in the set-up of the story, the first ten pages or so. But the story CANNOT stop to let the character exhibit these winning behaviors; the story must KEEP PROGRESSING, every empathetic element must be shown with a story reason for existing within a scene. Like exposition, empathy needs to be added in subtly, as the story motors onward, slipping into the reader’s knowledge without them noticing. If it’s a scene created for the express purpose of convincing the reader “This character is lovable! Love them! I said love them!” then it will be glaringly obvious and the reader will feel the exact opposite. (They’ll also feel that way about the author, incidentally.)

Now! How does this work? 

Harry Potter: 

Harry is the poster child for being treated unfairly. Yet in the face of the abusive treatment of his childhood, Harry is courageous. He does not succumb to the Dursley’s relentless campaign to stamp the magic out of him, and become a proper Dursley; though this would’ve won their approval, put him in their good graces, and made his life exponentially easier – but he didn’t do it. He knew they were wrong, knew what was right, and refused to become like them. So heck yes Sorting Hat, there is “plenty of courage, I see”. He was loved by his parents, by the three that dropped him off at his Aunt and Uncle’s, and by the majority of the Wizarding World. He’s also snarky, loving, and in constant danger. 

Judy Hopps: 

Every reason why we care about Judy is established in the first few scenes. She’s courageous. She’s funny. She’s loved by her parents. She’s motivated by noble values. Definitely goal oriented, hard working, and smart. She’s also in imminent danger, and being treated unfairly.

If we took out the pieces of the story meant to evoke our empathy, what would happen? 

Nobody would care. Judy Hopps would have been an annoying, smug, and consumed by ruthless ambition. Harry Potter would have ceased to exist because everything about him is empathetic. 

Establishing these early allows us to begin the process of temporarily transferring our lives into a story. Or in the case of some life-changing stories, not temporarily transferring, but letting them become part of our souls forever. 

Yup, having your story connect with a reader forever starts with just a little empathy. Pretty useful.

Oh, and speaking of souls, give me mine back, Dementor reader. I learned how to make people like my characters. Now you’re out of the Azkaban job and the beta reading job. 

Out of all the characters Pharah is the best to take over as strike commander. The narrative is even pushing for it. She has the motive, the connections, a legacy to carry on, and the skills.

1) She’s the head of security for Helix which was holding Doomfist. She’ll be pushed into action by the company sooner or later. To take down Akande she will be forced to take on Talon as well. Meaning that she will likely have to fight Reaper, Widowmaker, and Sombra as well.

2) Widowmaker shot her mother and Ana was presumed dead for about 7 years. So Fareeha is going to have a major grudge. That’s going to get personal.

3) She knew Reaper. He was, presumably, like an uncle to her or family of some sort. It’s going to hit her hard when she finds out that not only did Gabe break Akande out, but that he’s been experimented on and used by/working with Talon.

4) She will want to make her mother proud. Ana was one of the founding members of overwatch and later became the second in command. Also, Fareeha grew up in Overwatch and, likely, has fond memories of growing up on base. This brings us to point 5.

5) We are constantly reminded that Fareeha wanted to be part of Overwatch when she was a child. Being an agent of Overwatch used to be her dream. If given the chance, of course she would jump to join.

6) She is the security chief of Helix and part of the Raptora squad, a state of the art mecha suit division. She was also part of the Egyptian army and she has a commendation of ‘distinguished service’. 

The only Talon character she isn’t connected with is Sombra other than Sombra doing research on her. I’m still waiting to see how that pans out because if Blizzard really wanted to push this they would give us a more concrete connection between the two.

None of the other characters we can assume join the new Overwatch have quite the narrative background suiting them to be the strike commander. Hell, if anyone should be the poster child for Overwatch it should be Fareeha. 

Posting this week’s update early in celebration of Pokemon Day!  Happy Birthday @pokemon, and here’s to many more!  Here’s everybody’s favorite Pokemon poster child, Pikachu and its family~

Part of the reason I chose to do the Johto regional Pokedex is because the Johto Pokemon are pretty inseparable from the Kanto Pokemon.  The Johto region brought new pre-evolutions (along with breeding mechanics) as well as new evolutions (with new evolutionary stones, day/night mechanics etc.).  It’s why in my opinion Johto felt so fresh while also refreshing some old Pokemon.

Also I’m a big fan of how chubby and cute some Pokemon were in their old GBC sprites that have been slimmed-down and stream-lined in recent years.  Raichu and Pikachu used to be such fat little beans and I’ll always have a soft spot for their original pudgy designs.

If you want to see more Pokemon, check out my Johtodex tag!

anonymous asked:

okay so i know you already dislike sharon needles, but i have seen people bringing her up and i wanted to just ask you if you could post about some bad stuff shes done, so i have a reference, thank you so much!!!

firstly, here sharon is black facing:

next we have sharon sporting the confederate flag and a swastika shirt:

she has also said the N-word on stage countless times and wrote the N-word when signing a fans poster:

sharons tried to defend himself using the N word and literally said this, and this is a direct fucking quote no joke:

The other night me and a couple of my friends went out to have a good time, and there’s this young thing. I call her a “thing” because, you know, I don’t know how to tip-toe around gender rules or queer politics. I’m 30 years old, rich, and famous; I don’t have to deal with that shit anymore, you know what I mean? So we’ll just call them “him”/“her”/“thing,” whatever. And you know she really finds my shows offensive. … So anyway she got upset that I paint myself brown, that I would use language that she found offensive. … She made me an unnecessary poster child for post-racial change.“

here is my source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brandon-thomas/sharon-needles-racist-aft_b_1473057.html?ir=Australia

also Aaron, (sharon) a cis man dressed up as caitlyn jenner. which is a form of mocking trans womens bodies. because if a man dresses up as a trans woman it encourages the idea that trans women are just “men dressing up as women” which they AREN’T. trans women ARE women:

stories from fans who’ve had bad encounters with sharon that i found on reddit:

story 1

story 2

hope this is a good reference for you!

California is making so much solar energy the rest of the country looks like a joke

  • California is the poster child for solar energy: in 2016, 13% of the state’s power came from solar sources. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, California is in the lead for the cumulative amount of solar electric capacity installed in 2016.
  • In fact, the California is generating so much solar energy that it is resorting to paying other states to take the excess electricity in order to prevent overloading power lines. According to the Los Angeles Times, Arizona residents have already saved millions in 2017 thanks to California’s contribution.
  • The state, which produced little to no solar energy just 15 years ago, has made strides — it single-handedly has nearly half of the country’s solar electricity generating capacity. 
  • According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, California reached a milestone: for a few hours, more than half the state’s power needs were sourced from solar energy. This put wholesale energy prices in the negative. Read more. (6/22/17, 12:15 PM)
Who cries the least?

Of the four main characters on Steven Universe, it’s pretty obvious that Steven and Pearl cry pretty frequently. Steven’s a sensitive meatball and he’s a child, and Pearl is … let’s just say emotional and a little fragile. But most people who haven’t watched carefully would probably assume Garnet cries the least since she’s basically the poster child for stoicism. But that isn’t true.

Amethyst cries the least.

That isn’t to say Amethyst isn’t emotional. Garnet is certainly the least outwardly emotive, and many of Amethyst’s negative emotions manifest in outbursts of anger–being loud, being destructive, lashing out. She just doesn’t accompany her breakdowns with tears most of the time.

Let’s take a look here. Obviously there have been times when everyone’s losing it and there are tears, like at the end of “Bubbled”:

(And we won’t talk about this one because it’s “Say Uncle”)

But it’s interesting that sometimes when everyone else is turning on the water works, Amethyst’s eyes are dry.

In “So Many Birthdays” Pearl cried rivers, Garnet had a little trickle going, but Amethyst was just redirecting her frustration onto Garnet because she didn’t know how to fix Steven.

Most of the time Garnet cries when she’s worried about someone else.

And sometimes she might just be crying behind those glasses when we don’t know. There’s even evidence of it once in a while.

But time and time again, Amethyst has good reasons to be very emotional and yet she stops short before crying. She redirects herself into angry outbursts or collapses into sullenness. Consistently.

Big emotional moments for Amethyst include “Tiger Millionaire” (no tears):

… “An Indirect Kiss” (no tears):

… “Maximum Capacity” (no tears that we see anyway):

… “Reformed” (no tears): 

… and “Cry For Help” (no tears).

Of course, “Cry For Help” was also a big deal for Garnet, and she had an angry outburst there too:

But then in the next episode, she’s so conflicted over her internal struggle that she becomes even more silent than usual, with Ruby’s intense emotion being chilled with Sapphire’s fatalistic denial, and once it’s too much for her, she doesn’t cry … but they do.

In contrast, Amethyst has an arc with multiple episodes leading up to her feeling more and more damaged and worthless, hating her nature and her limited abilities, but she doesn’t cry until she’s FINALLY pushed to the brink in “Earthlings.”

“What was I supposed to look like?”

“You didn’t need me at all.”

“Busy making egg salad.”

“Now I’m the worst Crystal Gem.”

“You almost won with a rock!”

“So it’s true… .”

“Us worst Gems stick together, right?”

But besides this, of course, Amethyst did have the one notable emotional outburst that came with tears. And that’s “On the Run.” She went through sarcastic mocking, sullenness, and literal violence before she got to the point that she could cry, but she did get there. And then cried for approximately the entire last two minutes of the episode.

Amethyst can cry. It’s just that other responses come more readily, and she defaults to those before tears finally come. Garnet, though … Garnet doesn’t cry easily, but crying doesn’t seem to happen for her only when she’s been through everything else. And that makes sense, because she’s got to have all that emotion Ruby has in there somewhere, and it’s not just anger we’re talking about. Ruby is extremely demonstrative with her emotions, including love and joy, even though she can really only focus on one at a time. As manifested in Garnet, Sapphire doesn’t hold Ruby’s emotion in check; she just modifies how it is expressed. It’s still there. Garnet is the feeling between them. She even says so in a song. 

I’d be willing to bet she gets teary-eyed behind her shades more often than we’d ever know.

You know who’s only cried once, though? Peridot.

You know who never cries? Lapis.

I’m poor. B12 and vitamin D deficiency runs in my family, as well as anemia. I have multiple allergies, PCOS, and depression/anxiety. I’m basically a walking poster-child for all the “why people can’t be vegan” excuses.

I’ve been vegan since 2005. I just went to my PCP and she said I was healthy. Stop using my real problems as your hypotheticals. You clearly don’t care about me, or people like me, and just want a half-assed excuse to shit on veganism.

BMC Hogwarts

-Houses-
Jeremy: Slytherin (Ambition, Brotherhood)
Michael: Hufflepuff (Loyalty, Fairness)
Christine: Ravenclaw (Creativity, Wit)
Rich: Gryffindor (Nerve)
Jake: Gryffindor (Chivalry, Nerve)
Brooke: Hufflepuff (Fairness, Loyalty)
Chloe: Slytherin (Cunning, Ambition)
Jenna: Slytherin (Cunning, Ambition)

-Headcanons-
-Jeremy and Michael meet in first year on the train after discovering they were pretty much the only two people alone
-Chloe and Brooke are both pure bloods and insanely proud of it
-They were friends before coming to Hogwarts and protect each other with their lives throughout every year
-Jake is sorted into Gryffindor like his dad and pumps his fist as he walks to the table and eventually Rich gets sorted there too and sits by Jake at the table
-They start talking and Rich is literally head over heels almost immediately for him
-Jenna brews all these crazy potions and it’s really the only class she excels in so she starts secretly selling all these potions for firewhiskey hangovers and stuff
-Jake is a chaser for Gryffindor’s quiddich team! He’s such a team player and everyone on the team loves him
-Jake and Rich always stay behind for holidays and stuff because their home lives aren’t the best (but secretly they both love staying together at Hogwarts)
-Jeremy is pretty much the softest, nicest Slytherin ever and nobody is really sure how he got sorted until they see how much he’s willing to protect Michael as long as Michael is kind to him
-Michael and Jeremy get together third year after seemingly endless torment from Rich and the girls
-Christine is basically the poster child for head girl of Ravenclaw
-She excels in every class and at everything so she’s consistently tutoring and helping the gang study
-Rich and Jake are prank masters whether it be a foaming spell in the great hall, changing the gangs hair color, or letting loose tons of toads across Hogwarts
-They get together after a near disastrous Amortentia experience
-Rich is weirdly great at Herbology and Jake loves his small plant boyfriend
-Michael is the king of “I accidentally blew up part of the common room again” (he’s insane when it comes to trying new spells)
-Are Brooke and Chloe together ???Nobody knows ???

3

I cut half of my hair off this morning!! Now at last I look as old as I feel (11, probably). I also finally made a couple of poster-hangers for the limited edition Harry Potter posters I bought ages ago. Eloise and I had a mini dance party/photoshoot in celebration. Although I don’t know if what Elle’s doing (sleeping) qualifies as dancing.

aight SO instead of doing a full-blown Voltron summer camp au (yET), have some headcanons about in-canon Camp Counsellor (and lifeguard!) Lance:

  • he’s gone to the same camp for years, since he was a kid, and is the poster child for going through camp until he got to a counsellor and then Lifeguard
  • he adores camp. highlight of the year, always. April rolls around and he cannot wAIT until June
  • he wears croptops and shortshorts, the male staff try to call them rugby shorts but Lance schools them because ??? rugby shorts do not come in pastel floral, Carl.
  • *throws cold wet pool noodle at coworker*
  • “So hey guys, if one more kid poops in the pool this week you can find me crying in the pumphouse drinking chlorine :))))”(i feel u brah)
  • is the camp heartthrob 3 years running. 12-year-olds fall for his easy charm, he playfully flirts with coworkers after hours.
  • heart sunglasses/big rim sunhat aesthetic for guarding on deck
  • *plays Carly Rae Jepson full blast at the pool so it echoes around the entire camp* 
  • He tries really hard to make sure kids have a magical time at camp like he did as a kid because camp is a home away from home and it’s amazing
  • on overnight trips away from camp he points out constellations and tells the myths behind them, not necessarily the greek, but his favourites.
  • *runs through woods at night outside cabin windows with sparklers because ~~Fairies~~*
  • “holy flippin’ doodles, day hike!! It’s the best guys!! Candy at the top of the hill!!!” (Lance hates day hike day but the children can never know)
  • kids adore him, they cling to him at the end of the week, cry saying goodbye and make him cry too and suddenly anyone still at camp is also crying because Lance’s genuine crocodile tears are contagious
  • some kids write to him after summer ends and he writes back and they’re so excited to see each other every year and it makes his heart grow three sizes knowing that he’s making a difference for these kids. Being away from his bio fam all summer is hard because they’re so close but he wouldn’t trade camp for anything
  • returning campers and staff are so excited for him when he gets accepted into the Garrison because!! his DREAM!! GROUP HUG!!
  • “I expect to see you all back here next summer!!” he yells as the bus pulls away, and he wipes tears from his face.
  • at the garrison, he can’t write as frequently to campers but he does try. when he disappears, the letters stop coming altogether and the kids get worried but don’t know what happened. 
  • some of them see on the news that he’s pronounced MIA, presumed dead. it breaks their hearts that he never got to live his dream.
  • the summer after, the underlying theme is “Stars, Space, and Exploration.” With the kids, they build cardboard spaceships, have alien theme dance parties, sing songs about silly space things, blast rocket man and major tom and any other song they get their hands on that involves space from the pool to echo around camp.
  • it’s all for Lance, and everyone who met him knows it is, but no one says so until the very end of summer after all the kids are gone and the counsellors and Resource staff have a couple days to clean up and say goodbye for the year.
  • It takes a few days longer than usual. 
  • The staff paint a mural on the ramp and wall around the pool he loved so much, of space and nebulae and planets and a lone starship, flying through the cosmos.
  • June rolls around in the Castleship and Lance can’t help but wonder what his camp fam is doing.