Final Thoughts on Reader Identification

A few final pointers. First, defer a physical description of the character until you’ve established that reader identification connection. Once that’s set, the reader will buy almost any combination of hair and eye color and such.

Second, write toward your secrets. Don’t write away from them. You may not use your secrets in your final version, or you may change the details sufficiently so that they’re not recognizable. That’s fine. That’s what you should do. It’s the emotional resonance and content you’re after and sometimes the only way to capture that is to write into fear.

Here’s a weird truth: what you may think is so odd or aberrant or completely bizarre and alien in yourself, so strange that to reveal it would result in your being completely ostracized by polite society – that’s what people will identify with most. Not in the sense that it’s happened to them, too. But something about our deepest issue evokes empathy in almost everyone, and empathy is a good thing in terms of reader identification.

Finally, one warning. Don’t confused creating likable characters with reader identification.

For more techniques, check out FIRST PAGES.

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