Making the reader care.:

Total posts: [5]
1 SalmonPunch3rd Mar 2013 11:16:02 AM from Connecticutt, USA
I never asked for this
Its very difficult when writing stories that don't deal with dire consequences to avoid crossing into Serious Business or Melodrama.

Inversely, its hard to make readers care about fantastical issues in the same way they do about down to earth ones.

Share some strategies you use to make the reader care enough without resorting to wangst and whatnot.
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2 ArsThaumaturgis3rd Mar 2013 04:13:37 PM , Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
I think that one of the main things to do is to portray the effects of those elements on the characters: through their reactions and emotions and the reader's own empathy and sympathy the reader may come to care.
A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
3 Gaon3rd Mar 2013 04:17:40 PM from Grim Up North , Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
I never thought about this question in specific, funnily enough. I just wrote things the best I could trying to explore the concept and its philosophical ramifications just as I would do if I were talking about a real-life issue [okay sometimes a little less because not everything is that complex], I've never really developed an actual tactic X to make the reader care, just...rolled with it.
4 peccantis1st Apr 2013 11:15:41 PM , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
the flies will find you
There's little else you can do besides making your characters "people". I.e. create and depict them in ways that, in the reader's perspective, lift them out of the "paperdolls" box, towards if not into the "actual people I know" box. There are dozens of ways people can feel empathy towards other people, and it's important to remember it. Trying to make every primary character into a reader's almost-real friend or crush or idol is not gonna work unless your audience is 5.

The minimum is one character the reader cares about. If that connection is strong enough, the reader will also feel about the characters that one character cares about, and characters that affect their situation.

Immersion is another thing. One doesn't want a reader to be too aware they're reading a written work. The best stories are like stepping through a door into another life, and the worst are, well, like reading a bad story. Superficial quality is a major aspect, thankfully it's easy to keep in check. Actual flow and grip is much harder to learn and sadly I don't know any other ways to make even a basic check on them other than letting the story sit for a few weeks after finishing it, and reading it again, aloud. Getting a good beta reader or another source of frank feedback is essential here.
before the darkness arrives
Southern Style Scribe
I focus very, very heavily on the psychological dimensions of my characters. By laying bare their dysfunctions, hopes, nightmares, and so on, I give the reader a window into their lives, and make them part of the experience. The events that occur in my work "mirror" the character's facets, as if karma is reading their minds. In a sense, everything I write is a psychodrama, with the players of the game acting out their issues.
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Total posts: 5