How to Make Relatable Characters

This is a question that is circulated around all the writing communities. Every writer wants to know how some characters are relatable and others not so much? How can I make my characters relatable?

While I don’t know the general opinion on this topic, I know my opinion on the topic and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

Think about it. What characters have you read did you find relatable? Make of list of them and then ask yourself: why? Was it because they had similar hobbies as you? This is a common reason and a valid one. I myself love reading books where the main character’s a writer (I’m a sucker for them). But there’s so much more to it than that.

Characters are relatable because of the struggles they go through.

Why are there so many fans for Anne of Green Gables? (Well, because it’s the sweetest classic ever written and Gilbert–ahh!!! #fangirlmoment) Because the story is about a girl who wants a home. She wants a place to belong. Who can’t relate with that? Even if you do have an amazing home life and a wonderful family, you can appreciate that and sympathize with a character who doesn’t have the same.

Why does Jane Austen have such a fan club? (Again, because these books are so amazing! But, achem, not to fangirl again…) It’s because she portrays real struggles that we can all relate to in each of her novels. In Emma she writes about a girl who’s very controlling and tries to play matchmaker to all her friends, but instead ends up hurting a lot of friends and has to learn some hard lessons about herself. In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth struggles with her sense of pride and has to learn to move past it in order to see the love of her life. And the list goes on.

The fact is, whatever the character’s struggling with, whatever they’re going through, that’s what we feel deep within us as we read the book. Their pain becomes our pain and their sorrow, our sorrow. But only when we craft real characters with real struggles.

So that’s my answer to this question. It’s the character’s struggle that makes a character relatable or not. Without it, it’s just another carbon copy character. And we don’t care a thing for them. So make your character have a real struggle, and we’ll love them for life.

Your turn!

What characters have you read that are relatable to you? What makes it relatable? Do you feel your character has a real struggle that others can feel?

Blessings, Allyson


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