It’s a big week! We’re kicking off launch week with an excerpt from Character Sympathy: Creating characters your readers HAVE to root for!
When we use it correctly, humor can be a great tool for creating character sympathy.
A sense of humor helps to make a character more relatable. It can give the character an air of resilience, which is a strength worth rooting for. Whether the story events are positive or negative for the character, if he can take everything with a joke, he remains more grounded for the reader. Humor helps to temper the extremes of both strength and struggles, and make the character more human. And of course, when our character gets in the perfect one-liner or comeback, the readers (like us) get to indulge in a little wish-fulfillment for all the times words have failed them in a fight.
Several types of humor work particularly well with this, including wit and sarcasm, especially used in a self-deprecating way. Being able to poke fun at herself makes a character more endearing. Making fun of another character in a mean-spirited way, bullying, and cruelty, however, are very likely to backfire on the character-sympathy level.
This tool for creating character sympathy is optional. It’s not suited to all characters or all stories. But if your character is struggling to engage your readers, perhaps a joke or two couldn’t hurt.
What do you think? What other reasons do you use humor in your writing?