Creating Reader Identification


Don’t confuse reader identification with creating likable characters. That’s one way of getting your reader to identify with your characters, but not the only way. And maybe even not the best way.

Here’s the bottom line: something in your character has to resonate or enthrall the reader at some gut level. What is human in your character has to touch that same quality in your reader.

You’ve got to do that within the first few paragraphs. Preferably in the first paragraph. No warm up time, no throat clearing. In a sense, it’s part of hooking the reader, but on a different level. The hooks we talked about in the last chapter are meant to intrigue your reader’s mind or emotions. This one’s all about ego. It’s about, “What happens to the character happens to ME!” It operates on a very different level.

How exactly does one do that? Not an easy thing. Start by realizing that people are not all good or all bad.


That’s not just gratuitous philosophy. It’s a place to start with creating identification. Let me repeat the above: What is human in your character has to touch that same quality in your reader.

So. Create a human quality in your character early on, something that your reader can identify with.

How? Check out my book, First Pages, and this blog article. 

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