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So maybe,
I am waiting
for something
that will not happen,
yet maybe someday
I will be so happy
and surprise
by something
I could never imagine—

that’s when
the universe
will show
it’s love
for me.

—  ma.c.a // And in the end, the stars will still shine brightly

There are
people who will
always come back for you,
and it doesn’t matter
how deep you bury their souls.

in the middle of the night -
they will come for you,
floodlights on and the
barriers smashed to pieces.

and you’ll scream,
and shout,
and yell for them to
leave you alone,
but they won’t.

And you’ll curl up
into a ball on your bedroom floor,
hands covering your ears,
and pray
they won’t break you again.

—  charleigh aleyna.
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. 

You may not realise it right now, but there’ll be a day when you notice my absence with every breath you take, with every beat your heart completes without me by your side. You’ll look for me in all the places that used to be my favourite, you search for me in the streets we used to walk hand in hand, you gently brush your fingertips over letters I sent you, but I won’t be found, not where you used to find me and not in the words I wrote you. You will miss me, no matter if you will recognise the emptiness in your chest for what it is or if you’ll brush it off as a temporary kind of sadness you can’t explain. You’ll miss me, but sadly it’ll be too late.
—  Sadly, I’ve been gone for too long / n.j.
In you I see everything I love. I hear my favorite songs in your laugh and smell my favorite flowers on your skin. When I look in your eyes I see the river I skipped stones on as a child and when we kiss it feels like the first I picked up an instrument. Most importantly in you I see the thing I love more than anything. You.
—  /Oliver
The truth is, I was never able to breathe when we were together. Love is supposed to care for you and be there for you every step of the way but sometimes it’s just too much and I needed to be on my own. I knew that if I brought this up, he would manage to convince me to stay, I was never able to tell him no, he got me under his spell. So I just left and took my first breath after ages. It felt good as first but also really lonely, so I started to rebuild my life, with someone new. It was a good and simple life, something I needed in a long time but fate or whatever you’d like to call it pushed me once again offshore and towards him. I took one look at him and my good and simple life seemed like a joke to my eyes, like it didn’t belong to me. Because I was his and he was mine even though we pretended to be something else for all these years.”
“We never had a closure. I just woke up one day, she became so cold all of a sudden. And everything became so messed up. She didn’t tell anything, but her departure says it all. I was caught off-guard because I have learned to live my life with her. It took me years to rebuild myself. I haven’t picked my broken pieces because I know, it was all about her. I managed to step on it and inflict pain on myself in order to wake up. God knows how hard I tried to save myself and survive. I was lost that made me desperate enough to find a new light. I even burned bridges so I wouldn’t look back and walk to my past again. Those were the miserable years of my life. I have managed to surpass the storm. But unfortunately, life didn’t give a warning that storms could be back. I thought everything would remain calm. After all those years, she’s sitting in front of me right now; I hate how universe give us the opportunity to bump into each other again. It’s been five long years. I know everything changed, but as I look to her, it feels like I’m ready to risk and be fooled again.
—  How I Met My Lost Star by @giulswrites and @baekebyan

1
Hair: Even in dimmed sunlight I see hues of brown in your hair and I resist from running my fingers through it. I’ve memorized the dips and hills on your scalp because I’m convinced that my fingertips have ran through your hair as much as you run through my mind.

2
Skin: There is cotton, and there is silk, and there is velvet but I don’t think anything will ever be as soft as your skin. I could dive in you – or you, me – every day for the rest of our lives until pieces of us are frayed from friction.

3
Nails: We leave scratches on each other’s bodies and I can’t help but persuade myself that our nails are paintbrushes, our love is the paint and our bodies are canvases. Sometimes you are Picasso and sometimes I am Kahlo and I know that we are symbolic of a masterpiece.

4
Saliva: You have yet to notice that you lick your lips too often when you’re nervous. The gleam of light on your lips beckons me like sugar and you know that I have a sweet tooth.

5
Sweat: They say that when you love someone, their scent is like a poison. You asked me what you smelled like and I said you were somewhere between a rainfall and a gentle breeze. I told you that you and the beach during a rainstorm were my two favorite places.

—  The integumentary system of you 
He would whisper “I love you”, only when she wasn’t looking.
—  BINI //He had courage to fall in love, but not to express. She knew what he wanted to say, but couldn’t reciprocate. It was so painful yet much more beautiful.

daniella501  asked:

Hi! I've been reading your blog and loving every single post. I'm a beginner at writing, and I was wondering: how could you write a realistic character?

Hi, thank you! I’m always glad to hear that this blog is helpful.

How to write realistic characters is always a common question among beginning writers, and I’d be happy to help you answer it. (Here’s my post on general character-building tips – it may help you.)

1. Give every character some sort of flaw.

Just as people aren’t perfect, neither are characters. It doesn’t have to be any huge problem – although it can be – but give each character something, whether it be stubbornness or a bad temper or being too giving. (My post on character flaws may give you some ideas.)

2. However, don’t make characters all good or all bad.

Give your protagonists bad traits and things they’re not good at, and give your antagonists talents and good traits. Chances are even the worst people think they’re doing right – just look at Hitler.

3. Don’t put your characters in boxes or give them limitations.

Just because your character is feminine doesn’t mean they can’t be an awesome streetfighter; just because your character plays varsity football doesn’t mean they can’t be intellectual and well-spoken. People are endless blends of traits, which is why they’re unique – so are characters.

Those are some blanket statements on creating characters – below I’ll link you to posts that may also help you!

Creating Likeable Characters

Building Friendships Between Characters

Writing Dialogue (the way a character speaks can tell a lot about them, which is why I’ve linked you to this post)

5 Ways To Develop A Convincing Character

Writing Dynamic Relationships

Character Mannerisms

Character Development

Writing Romantic Relationships

Also, @thecharactercomma specializes in characterization (and grammar), so that blog will probably be a huge help.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! - @authors-haven

The way I see it life is a blank canvas and it’s up to you to paint it. Society decided to paint it blue and if you don’t want to feel an outsider and be treated like one, you have to paint it blue as well. But time passes and you don’t feel like blue is right for you, but it seems okay for everyone else so you just keep pretending. And then one day, you discover the color pink and you feel good in it and don’t care if others think otherwise.
—  giulswrites
Meeting you was not so much like getting to know you as it was like listening to a tune you don’t remember hearing before, yet you always seem to know what the next note will be.
You were a familiar melody so addictive that before I realized it you were stuck in my head and I couldn’t get you out. Every moment of you played on constant repeat and would go round in my head for hours.  Slowly you became the soundtrack to my life; every place I went, every person I spoke to, every dream I dreamed – there you were, constantly playing in the background. For whatever reason you resonated with me like no one else ever had and I listened to you intently… studied you and replayed you until I had memorized you perfectly.
Then you pressed the stop button one day and I didn’t hear anything from you for a long time…
The sudden silence was painful and lonely so I kept replaying you in my mind to keep me company… over and over until I thought I’d go insane. Eventually I tried to fade you out in the hopes that I’d forget you and I’ll admit that you are quieter now… I suppose it’s only natural that the more distance there is between us the quieter you become and the more time that goes by the more our conversations fade away like echoes.
You were like my favorite song once… but lately I’m forgetting all the words and I don’t know how to feel about it… But the one thing I do know for certain is that somehow I had known you long before I knew you… That is why you were already so familiar to me that is how I know that even if you were to fade to a mere whisper… it would only take a single moment with you for everything to come flooding back to me once again. And as much as I miss the sound of your voice…
I know that wall of silence is the only thing keeping the emotions at bay.
It brushes your fingertips like fire, like thunder. It burns to know you’ll never hold victory on your tongue.
—  coming close but falling short // abby, day 215 // prompt for @paintingsunny