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How to make a character likable when you first meet them?:

I'm currently planning a space opera webcomic that will focus on two characters, a drifter and a former-family man whose lost almost everyone he's loved. I have some ideas about these character's past and their psychology, but I don't know how to make them sympathetic and likable when their introduced.

From what I've seen, stories usually do this by making the character funny or by by showing the character perform some amazing act of bad-assery or heroism. I don't feel particularly confident in my ability to create humor and these characters aren't bad-asses. Any advice on how to make a character likable from the beginning?

Oh, and just so I don't have to make another thread for this, how would you show that an extroverted character is depressed or grieving without making them less extroverted?
 
About first as you said it is usually done by having character do something but I don't really think it needs to be something badass, having character help child or old person, giving back lost wallet small things should work just as well as anything badass, if you show that they have conscience they it should be enough. About the second I am not sure what do you mean by keeping him extroverted , I guess you could make him try to find someone to talk about this, and discuss this.
 
Anyone else got some advice?
 
 4 Night, Tue, 16th Apr '13 5:11:42 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
Attempts to manage audience reactions are perilous and should only done for specific purpose. You don't appear to have one in mind here.
"Remember that you are fighting the machine and the pilot both, but you only have to beat one of them."
[up] Well, no one's gonna read a story about characters they don't care about.
 
 6 Night, Tue, 16th Apr '13 5:17:11 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
That doesn't mean likeable. And honestly if you have to make them likeable, all you're doing is setting up for the readers realizing you cheated them of their time.

Also people might read it for things besides the characters, like the plot or the relevance to specific events or even its treatment of particular issues.

edited 16th Apr '13 5:17:54 PM by Night

"Remember that you are fighting the machine and the pilot both, but you only have to beat one of them."
 7 chihuahua 0, Tue, 16th Apr '13 5:20:41 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
Just throwing this out there, but I heard once that character likability is overrated, and it's more important for a character to be entertaining.

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Total posts: 7
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