Characters – Why we love or hate them

Have you ever wondered what makes people love or hate characters? I have. It has to do with what we love and hate in the things we see in the people we know. Does this sound crazy? Let me explain why I believe this to be true.

According to my husband’s TV viewing show choices, I’ve discovered that he tends to like female characters that I have similar traits with. I’m not “identical” to any of them, but they all seem to embody something I’ve found similar in myself. You could literally take all the female characters he likes, put them in a blender, and end up creating me as a whole. Example: On one show my husband watches, he likes the goth chick character that’s kind of smart/nerdy, but completely adorable and loving at the same time. I kinda fit that. While on another show, he likes the wild, crazy, unpredictable chick with a great sense of humor. That could also fit me.

Through this observation I’ve learned to watch characters more closely to see why I do and don’t like them. I’ve found that I like a lot of characters that have the same traits as my husband. I’ve also found that I like children characters that have the same cute/silly characteristics as my son!

It’s really not that far fetched to recognize and realize why you do and don’t like characters, when you can identify who you do and don’t like in your everyday life and why.

People are drawn to the people and characters that speak to their baser instincts. No one likes someone who they know is going to screw them over and who can’t be trusted. Most people avoid those people and dislike them in real life. When you put those traits in your “bad guy” in a story, you’ll get the same gut reaction of dislike, often more intensely and more clearly because when you’re reading or watching a show, you’re in a safe environment. There will be no backlash from the “character” that you don’t like, so you’ll speak your mind freely about what you dislike about them. This also goes for characters you like – there’s no fear of rejection. For these two reasons alone, I believe, is why reading and television capture the interest of so many.

I hope now you’ll look at characters in a different light and learn to break them down to the point where you can see the “humanity” of them according to your world of influence (people around you). This will help you understand why you love and hate them, and it will make it more fun and interesting to write characters in your stories and give them more depth.

Have fun with your characters…there are patterns all around you.



©Rebecca Besser, 2013. All rights reserved.


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