What makes you care about a character?

I feel this in my bones. I don’t know if there’s anything more disappointing than seeing interchangeable characters and interactions in an IF.

It seems like “make sure they’re a person, not a prop or a plot device” might be the golden rule

1 Like

That’s a very good question.

The answer for me is, it depends a lot! So, I play a lot of stuff (mainly RPGs and especially pen and paper ones) and also I write some stuff along the way and I think that any character, whatever the personality they have, becomes interesting to make me care about them is, if they react based not only on the storyline main purpose but also on their background. I usually spend loads of time creating backgrounds for my characters, because I want them to live the story as I think anyone with that background would and not the way I would do it (if it makes any sense). What I’m trying to say is, every character is a living “agent” on the main story and they are there not only to serve our purpose, but theirs, and when this happens its gold, becoming your choice to care or not about them but based on what you believe you character should think/do/feel whatever.
Sometimes you get those characters that you can do whatever you want with them and they will be there for you rock solid, why? Why the hell? Are they lifeless, emotionless?? Boring…

@sviyagin I basically agree with all the dots there, but if I am allowed, the second one there … well, characters can change, especially if they respond to the MC choices, for good or for bad.

Of course characters change, and they should! But I don’t want a character to change fundamentally. New motivations? Sure. Reevaluated belief system? Bring it on. New personality? No thanks.

If a character is sarcastic and prickly, I don’t want the character to stop being sarcastic and prickly when I befriend them (maybe the way they’re sarcastic might change, but I still want the sarcasm!). If a character has a vice of some kind, I don’t want them to suddenly give it up because the power of friendship fixed them. I don’t want friendship or love to “fix” a character.

Parts of a character’s personality might change over time because of events and interactions, but it shouldn’t be like friendship flipped a switch and transformed them into something fundamentally different.

I hope that clarifies what I meant!


Heh. Speaking of changing personality, I feel like I’ve changed quite drastically.

I used to be pretty outspoken and upfront IRL. However, some stuff happened. Not a good stuff. Now, I’m more down to earth and I’m actively trying not to overextend whenever I talk.

Characters can change a lot, and the change is possibly 180°. However, they have to get through an incident that hits home and close to heart. Something that shakes even their inner-self.

Maybe their humble abode is caught in a disaster, along with the old grandpa or the young sibling. Maybe the star they idolize turns out to be fraudulent person. Whatever the reason is, the incident they went through must be able to challenge their beliefs. I think.


My favorite characters are often the larger-than-life ones that usually aren’t the MC’s companions, friends, etc – so Preston in Tin Star, Col. Firesnuff in Tally Ho, Sosibius in Alexandria.

I also like the characters that are dynamic and develop – so the fox spirit in Choice of Kung Fu who becomes less of a trickster when the MC’s involved, or your robot in Choice of Robots who can go from created to creator, or even the bully in Life of a Wizard who can become a hero by your side.

As for how a character was written to make me care about them – the answer changes if they’re a RO or not. Preston is my favorite RO because even if you take out that romance his relationship with a law-abiding MC is still incredibly interesting and a story all on its own. A character like Col. Firesnuff, on the other hand, is a favorite because of the subtleties beneath that larger-than-life personality.


Couldn’t agree more!

Every author does that. Each and every character ever made in a story-irrespective of their format- is made with the sole purpose for a role or a definite objective. What is that objective?

That’s another story. It could be a plot device or a prop. Heck, It could even be a medium for telling a specific joke.

The trick is to make sure that objective is fulfilled without the reader noticing.

P.S. - We’re still waiting for a Good Intentions update!

I usually under-promise where possible, but I think I’m going to have something fit for release by next weekend.

And now I’ll be quiet since I’m off topic.:slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I think for me…and I have been sitting here trying to come up with an answer that make sense…

but deep down , I think what matter to me is that you can relate and understand the characters .

Personality is very important of course , but sometimes we get some look-alike . So at that point you can’t really judge until you see or read what make them really different .

Some character I loved , not because of their personality . But the way they were written , the author give them a certain ‘realism and warmth’ that make you crave the interaction with them . (I’m talking about Ortega from Fallen Hero) .

of course , hating a character is also a form of compliment . If said character was writen to get some of that reaction . Then they did it right .

I mean , you will always have those characters that are supposed to be your ally and loved by default . Then you have the vilain , and depand on the story…it can go either way : Love them and feel bad for them or hate them and imagine thousand of ways to murder them .

Then there are those characters in between that are left up to the player to decide what they are supposed to be . They make you love them , but what they do make you hate them . The most interesting thing about this kind of characters is that : They will never change who they are no matter how much hate or how much you beg for them to turn to the light lol . And I think thats one thing that make them so interesting but I imagine hard to write .

often is when you stop using logic , and try to see said character in a human way . Sometimes that character will really make you work for it and near impossible to feel anything like compassion and understanding because they are fucking everything up!! Then come the great reveal!

and the guilt urgh! then you see whats underneath…what was underneath it all…and I’m totally pissed! :joy:


Backstories, what’s going on in the world around them (eg: civil war), if they are flawed, um I have a longer list but I can’t think of anything else to a add to this right now I’m trying to think about my favourite fictional characters (the Dinobots form the alined contunity, the ones from Fall of Cybertron) and WHY they are my favourites so I can list them. I’m not getting very far.

Two things:

  1. A character that is real enough that they could be the mc of the story instead of you, and it would be a story you would love to read. That means being a part of the plot, having their own personality and agenda, and things you suspect going on off stage.

  2. Just let me talk to them. A cool character doesn’t matter if we hardly ever get the chance to interact. Give me more than a sentence or two of dialog per choice, let me feel how they taste.

  • characters who break bad stereotypes in a good way are very memorable, because they not only validate some people but they’re generally just very good, you know, yeah
  • characters who react to seemingly little choices you make are also very cool. not only do they make the story seem real, but you get to know more about them when they react, which makes them more real.
  • characters that take a lot of wooing to get romanced! i just hate it when it’s very easy to get this guy to date you or get this girl to randomly kiss you–it’s just very, very unrealistic, you know, yes. i mean, sure, maybe they had a crush on the MC since the beginning, but it still takes a whole lot more, i guess
  • characters who bicker with other characters over small things are precious like not only do they make everything realer, but it’s really fun to hear their opinions? really fun
kevin has a favorite eheh
  • there are those characters with miserable backstories who end up a little too cocky and self-centered for their own good–those are my favorite. i guess i just enjoy the psych behind it? a lot of stories attempt this personality and sadly i only know a few where it’s properly executed :0

I tend to care about my own main characters as they’re really just extensions of my own personality

Personally I like characters that are complicated. Give them demons. Give them flaws. Give them doubts and fears. Give them contrasts. As soon as a charcter is entirely defined by one personality style, I loose interest. Make their persona differ strongly from their ego. Make them unexpected. That’s what captures my interest.