Seven Reasons Readers Don’t Care About Your Characters [Novel Boot Camp 1]

A strong connection to your characters (not necessarily likeability) is important. If readers don’t care about your characters, they’re probably not going to keep reading. In this video I go over the seven most likely reasons that readers don’t care about your characters and what you can do about it.

Don’t forget to submit your novel opening for Workshop #1!

Comment Question: Which of these seven reasons apply to your novel? Are there any other reasons you sometimes can’t connect to characters?

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10 thoughts on “Seven Reasons Readers Don’t Care About Your Characters [Novel Boot Camp 1]

  1. Rick Potter says:

    Great video, thanks, Ellen. I think I’m okay with these reasons, but I do often have trouble with descriptions. I try to maintain a balance by using action and dialogue to help describe a character. Sometimes I can be long-winded, other times, too vague.

  2. suzanna says:

    Great video. I could relate to knowing so much about your character that you somehow miss writing it down and just expect everyone else to know it. That happened a LOT in my first novel.

  3. vanessafowler says:

    The first reason, conveying the character’s personality: some of my side characters have personality, but not the main ones…or at least nothing intentionally planned out. I think I’ve been avoiding this because I’m unsure. Going to bite the bullet and take some time to really think about this now!

  4. Tracey D says:

    Excellent video, Ellen! I really like the bookshelf background πŸ™‚ My biggest takeaway from your message as a whole is how important it is to incorporate all of these in the first chapter, to some extent, so that readers will want to continue reading. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions for bringing out the best (or should I say worst) in the antagonist in the next video! Thank you!

    • Ellen_Brock says:

      I’m glad you like the background! And I hope you find the video on antagonists helpful tomorrow. There are so many things to talk about with antagonists that I’ll probably make another video or two later in the year.

  5. agatharodi says:

    Hello there from Greece! I just found out about this terrific chance of Novel Boot Camp! Great to be connected! Thank you, Ellen, for this great workshop!!! I wish I knew earlier! Greetings to you!

  6. Cherie Bombell says:

    Hello from Australia! πŸ˜€ So glad you’re treating us to another boot camp this year – thank you. When I listen to your videos, I immediately get ideas to add or change scenes in my wip (and also that I should have submitted another opening scene for review). I appreciate your talent and the experience that you give so freely. Now, off to implement and hopefully do justice to your wisdom.

  7. Abs says:

    That was useful thank you. I struggle to add the sensory information to draw a reader in. As a reader I love it when it is done well in a seamless, immersive way but hate it when it is dull (and am know to skim read a lot of dull stuff I don’t really need to know). So I think this scares me as a new writer. I have been trying to work on this.

  8. Jen (Full of Love) (@gluedwithgold) says:

    My biggest issue with creating characters is giving them depth – I don’t (yet) do a lot of work in creating them, I tend to let them tell me who they are as the story unfolds. That means a lot of editing, adding in bits throughout after the fact to try to flesh out the character, make their motivations clear, which I think tends to come across as disjointed and stale. It also means they tend to come across as trope-y. I think for my next project I’ll spend some time getting in my characters’ heads – I’m definitely not an outliner, planning everything out zaps all the excitement out of the story for me – but hopefully just doing some character work beforehand will help give me deeper, more realistic people on the page – and maybe it’ll keep me from getting stuck because I’ll have a better idea of what the character would do in a situation which will push the plot along more easily. πŸ™‚

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