1. Rhipsime Rose

    Rhipsime Rose Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2019
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    161
    Location:
    The Flower City
    Currently Reading::
    A Little Life- Hanya Yanagihara

    Making a likable character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Rhipsime Rose, Jun 4, 2019.

    Hi,

    I'm writing a YA novel, and I've already developed my main character, and I'm currently developing her guardian, Vitaliy Ignatenko, a former Chernobyl liquidator. He will die early on in the story, but I want my readers to be very fond of Vitaliy and grow attached, so killing him off will have a greater impact. How should I go about making him likable?

    -RR
     
  2. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2019
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    725
    Have him save a drowning puppy?
    In seriousness, if he's a guardian and he shows even small acts of kindness or warmth towards his charge then I think the reader will like him. If you want the reader to care about him them make your MC care about him, develop their bond. When we see how it affects her, it will likely affect us too.
     
  3. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Messages:
    1,244
    Likes Received:
    1,384
    Location:
    In the vibe zone
    In addition to what Maverick_nc said, I would make sure he is plenty interesting and has depth. Make it look like he's got a lot to be explored so when he dies it's somewhat unexpected. If he's simple and shallow, people are more likely to call him dying and generally be less invested.
     
  4. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    6,122
    Likes Received:
    7,495
    Do you have to kill him off? I feel like death can me an easy way out, and there are better ways to get rid of a character that often come to writers when we give it a little more thought. When I was in school for writing, it was often said "give him a puppy" when characters needed to be softened up a bit. It's not that you actually need to bring a puppy into your story, but such things can work as a way to introduce another side of a character. Still, I'm not a fan of getting readers to care about character only to have them killed off. There are worse things than death and other ways to exit s story. Sometimes that approach can have more of an impact than death. A few years back I read an interview with an editor at one of the top magazines that publish fiction. He said they see way too much death and were kind of sick of it. They actually counted all the character fatalities they had published in a year. The number was pretty high. So, it's not that these stories don't sell, but editors are interested in seeing other options. I think there are creative solutions around this sort of trope, and that seems to be something editors are actively seeking.
     
  5. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    4,620
    Likes Received:
    3,807
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Give him some virtues. Make him humble, patient, thankful. Mainly show the mc's love for the character and that's how you'll get the most impact. It'll be through her and how she feels about him that's going to really draw the death home.
    I read a middle grade book call Mrs. Fish, the Ape and me, the Dump Queen by Norma Fox Mazer and in the story this lonely girl befriends an equally lonely female janitor. The woman brought joy to the girl - she gave the girl a little birthday celebration with balloons and treats when no one else bothered so for me if that woman was no longer a part of the girls life - the hole of loneliness would be all the greater.
    Examine the impact and influence the character has with the mc what he brings to their relationship.
     
  6. Rhipsime Rose

    Rhipsime Rose Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2019
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    161
    Location:
    The Flower City
    Currently Reading::
    A Little Life- Hanya Yanagihara
    The reason I am choosing to kill off Vitaliy is that his death will force the character to go seek out another guardian, which is an integral part of the plot of my story. If there is another way to get rid of him, I'm open to suggestions.
     
  7. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    Messages:
    863
    Likes Received:
    857
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    People pull this kind of thing off in different ways and lots try to make the character likable for the readers. But if they care about your main character, then they will care about what happens to him/her. If you show how much this guardian means to your MC and that other characters also like this person that helps. Your guardian is an impact character in a sense. His death is simply happening to force your MC to seek out another. This isn't always the best reason to kill a character off because it's then very obviously a plot device that is becoming very cliche in YA books. Getting rid of the protecting, danger alarm that are parent figures.
    Not saying you have to change anything, but make his death more impactful than a trigger to make your MC do something.
     
  8. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    Messages:
    877
    Likes Received:
    1,243
    Hello, friend. :superhello:

    I like the idea to put on that guardian virtues, but I will add this detail: make him/her having something that can make your MC complete. Let's imagine that your MC is a shy person, maybe his/her guardian is an extrovert that can bring her shell out. This part of the guardian personality later in the story can influence because she/he will have to find another guardian, which of course must be different from the current one.

    I hope this helps. Keep on good work and have fun! :superagree:
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
    Maverick_nc likes this.
  9. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2019
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    725
    To add further (random and not fully realised) ideas about not killing him off, perhaps just send him off instead. Maybe he has to make an incredibly tough decision: To stay with his young charge or leave to care for his dying mother (whom he dislikes, but feels duty bound to care for). Also leaves it open for them to meet again some day, who knows?!
     
    LoaDyron likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice