26 August 2011

Discussion: I need to care about you


In the last month I encountered some books that didn't work for me. They were not badly written and the plots were good, but one thing made it impossible for me to really enjoy the books. I didn't care about the main characters. I didn't feel their pain, joy, frustration or anything. When they went through tough times I was bored and wondered why I should care about what happened to them.

It's important for me to feel a certain connection to a character. I want to be able to empathise with a character. If this doesn't happen then it's no fun to read about them and more often than not I dislike the book in the end. I like all kinds of different characters so it's hard to say what bothered me about the characters in the books that didn't work for me.

I not only want to feel a certain connection to the characters I read about, I also want to like them. Reading about characters that are likeable (even a bit is often enough) is something I enjoy and I often struggle with books when I dislike their main characters.

What do you think? How important is it for you to feel a certain connection to a character or even like him/her?

19 comments:

  1. It's very important for me to feel some connection to the main characters. Without that, the whole book just falls flat -- this happened with the last book I read. :(

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  2. SO IMPORTANT! If I don't care about the characters, why should I care about what happens to them? It makes me loose interest in the story. You know, like when someone is telling you about what happened to the aunt of a friend of a friend of them and you nod of cause you don't really care? That's sort of what happens when I don't connect to the characters in a book.

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  3. In my opinion you can't read a book with joy without having a connection to the main characters. When you don't feel their feelings it's difficult to be captivated by the book itself!
    The plot and the way they're written seems to be great but you can't enjoy the book...
    It's very important for me to have a connection to the characters of a book! If you don't like them you will dislike the whole book.

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  4. I certainly enjoy a book where I care about the characters.
    I feel detached when reading a book where I cannot connect with the characters.

    carol

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  5. I absolutely have to like and care about at least one character to keep invested in the story. I've been finding this a lot in my reading lately too .
    I haven't been connecting/caring/or even liking the MC's.
    On the other hand if I like someone, even a side character, it can keep me reading a book I don't enjoy just to find out what happens to them.

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  6. I agree with you. If I don't like the characters, the whole book is pointless. I read the first book in a very very popular serie lately, and both characters were not to my liking. Very weak and whiny, and very selfish. So, not liking the book, not liking the serie, not reading any more.

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  7. I HAVE to connect to the main character!

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  8. Oh, I absolutely agree. I think fabulous character development can mask a great degree of bad story. But the other way around rarely works out. I especially hate when I cannot stand the characters. In those cases I slip into a fatal mindset. I just spend my time wishing the character would be killed by the bad guy so that I could be put out of my misery. That just isn't a good thing.

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  9. Great to know that you all feel the same.

    My sis is one of the persons that can enjoy books even though she doesn't care for the main characters. Sometimes I think she is weird and other times I think she is smart because of it.

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  10. I don't necessarily have to love them but I would like to connect o them. Otherwise I don't care about them! And then I don't have to bother reading the book at all.

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  11. I don't know if I need a connect to the character, but I need to like them. Case in point - I despise the Anita Blake series because I dislike the main character so intensely.

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  12. Yup, I agree ... for instance, I simply can't imagine following a series of books where I hated the protagonist

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  13. I have to at least be able to tolerate the main character(s). It's very hard for me to stay with a book where I can hardly tolerate the main character. Now if it was a secondary character that's a whole different ball game.

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  14. I would have to agree. If I don't connect with a story or characters I rarely finish the book no matter how big of a fan I was initially. I more times than not continue to read the series, but may or may not come back to the book I quit reading. Being able to to identify and at the same time have the book run through my mind like a movie is what makes or breaks a book for me. Then the other things come into to play like tone and dialog of the characters and such. I have a five chapter rule. If I don't like it in five chapters, well I'm not going to continue wasting my time. Rarely do I continue, and usually just move on to something else. So I would definitely say you are not alone in the least. :)

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  15. For me not connection with the main character is a huge problem. Now I tend to stop reading a book if I cannot seem to care about the person. I read to escape in to another world. If that is not possible and my mind keep wandering to what to make for dinner then the book isn't for me.

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  16. i need to have a connection with the characters as well. i also need the plot to be interesting and i need to not want to put the book down to really enjoy and read the book. if its too easy to put down and not pick up it usually means i won't pick it up again since its not interesting enough

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  17. Connecting with characters is definitely a must for a book to be great. I have read lots of books where the main character bothers me, and it seriously impairs my enjoyment of the story.

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  18. Characters are THE thing that makes or breaks a book for me. If the characters are awesome, I can read about them in virtually any situation and be entertained. However, if the characters are boring or one-dimensional, I won't stay interested no matter how thrilling the plot is!

    Stopped by from the Saturday Situation!

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