Agree or disagree: low points help build reader attachment?


Just a question, but do you think that having a reader go through the low points with a character makes then more attached to the character and the story? Makes the reader care more?


Low points as in failures? or bad times/sad times?


Only if it pertains to the plot. What makes a character compelling, is baggage and how they deal with it; base the plot on resolving said baggage.


^ That.


^ Yep.


Depends on how it is done


I agree (:


I think it depends entirely. I actually write at length about my thoughts and feelings and attachment to the main character when I’m doing beta feedback. The thing that gets me mostly is the relationships with other characters. That’s what immerses me and makes me attached to my character.

Think of some movies or books or games where you care about the main character and what happens to them? What’s it that generally draws you to a character? Who’s your favourite character? And what’s your favourite MC in any choice game?


@2Ton yes their bad/sad times, like the main character is mugging people in alleyways to feed their drug addiction.

@fairlygodfeather my favorite character of all time is Commander Shephard. What draws me to Shephard is that she is totally kick ass and wont stop till she meets her end goal. My favorite from COG is the you create in heros rise.


Best Role model character of all time is Lee Everett, and he has tons of low points…


@GrimReaper21 So it’s Shephard’s strengths and what she’s good at that draw you to her, not her weaknesses?

What’s it that draws you to the Hero of Hero’s Rise?


@fairygodfeather there is very few low points for Shep. What makes her such an attractive character is her willpower and determination. Hero in Heros rise make it feel like your actually your the hero, idk its hard to put in words.


I think it CAN help attachment to the character, but not if I am forced to see my character wallow in self-pity. Then I simply get annoyed and dislike my character and can’t wait for that section to be done with.

On a side note, I absolutely hate when drugs or other abusive substances are present in any form in fiction of any kind. It kills the atmosphere of the whole fictional journey for me.


@Galador =D>


^ @Galador This. There’s got to be a fine balance, so the character doesn’t win too much nor do they lose too much. Having a few low points is good, so long as we get to see through its resolve and see how the character grows because of it, but I do not want to be forced into a low-point every single time (e.g. Heroes Rise, just putting it out there).

Just remember to put in a few high points as well, so that we don’t feel like the character’s completely useless or something.


@Galador - Hating all forms of drugs or abusive substances in any kind of fiction sounds kinda difficult to me… I think there are plenty of substance dependencies in fiction that seemed vital to setting to me.

In the world of hating things, especially settings, I hate unbelievable worlds. I watched ‘In Time’ recently and found the premise ridiculous. I can believe immortality and eternal youth, and I might be able to accept equating time with both money and life, but I can’t believe that the entire world is forced to live like that without reason.


@Random Heroes Rise actually came to mind for me as well!

@Caddmuss I’m not sure why that is difficult. Could you tell me a setting where drugs and other mind addling substances ARE completely necessary to a good story in such a way that you can’t dislike the mention of the substance? Or perhaps if you still dislike it when the substance is mentioned, when is it still necessary even when readers don’t like it?


Point of order: anything can be addictive or subject to substance abuse. We’re not just talking about opium and crack here. Alcohol can be addictive, sex can be addictive, tobacco can be addictive, playing golf can be addictive. Substance abuse is a mental state and a character trait, one that helps create more flawed, more human characters.

If you’re writing someone with a substance abuse problem because it makes them a better character? Do it. Marmeladov was a drunk, which didn’t make him more sympathetic, but certainly helped ‘Crime and Punishment’ where his family was involved. Sherlock Holmes was a cocaine addict, something which helped highlight just how separate he was from conventional thought and society.

You can dislike substance abuse and still admit that it makes the story a better one. I dislike treason, but that doesn’t mean Macbeth and A Song of Ice and Fire and Star Wars are worse stories for including it.


Spice and the Saga of Dune is the one that comes readily to mind seeing as it’s vital for space navigation, Fremen religion, etc… Vampires require blood, and it’s often has a more drug-like effect than food to me, though obviously that’s a fast and loose example with each different portrayal. The One Ring isn’t a substance, but I think it still falls under the category of a mind-addling, addictive item; reading/watching Gollum’s character is where I might draw the strongest tangent, the effect of his withdrawal totally vital to the character.

Going back to character attachment, I think it’s the way a character thinks, acts, and reacts that makes want to know more about them. Just because they’re having a tough time doesn’t mean I feel for them.


I think that’s half it. The way a character acts and thinks and talks and reacts can allow the reader to build empathy with a given character. If this doesn’t happen, then you could put them through the worst wringers imaginable, and nobody would care. Once the reader has that empathetic bond, then low points and disasters are a pretty good way of getting an emotional reaction out of your audience.

Another thing that set-backs are great for doing is establishing the tone of a larger work. If you want to create an idealistic setting where everyone is altruistic and good is sure to triumph over evil, then by all means, do away with major low points and have every problem be fixed by the final scene. If you are planning on something a bit darker, it’s always good to flavour the happy ending with a few persistent issues that don’t get solved, or even to go for a full bittersweet/downer ending.