Anyway, to get to the point, I read an article on Huffington Post by Maureen Ryan called 'Avengers' Fans: Thank TV For That Awesome Movie. If you're a fan of Joss, click on that link and read the whole article. It'll make you feel good all over. (I have no idea who Maureen Ryan is, but anyone who starts out an article with "There's a cloud to the silver lining of "The Avengers'" record-smashing success: We've probably lost its screenwriter and director Joss Whedon to the movies forever" is pretty worth reading in my book.)
And wow. I still haven't gotten to the point. (I just saw Avengers last night, so I'm kind of on an Avengers high. I swear I'll make my brain stay focused.) There are several ways to make your character sympathetic, likeable and relateable to your readers. If you make a character that is perfect in every way, how is anyone going to be able to relate to that? No one is perfect! It's kind of hard to see yourself in the shoes of someone who is. We don't find ourselves rooting for the perfect characters. Yet one of the ways we can make a character likeable is to make them REALLY GOOD at something. We like characters who are just downright awesome at things. So how do we make them still likeable and relateable while keeping their awesomeness intact? In her article about the The Avengers' opening night success, Maureen Ryan gave a few incredible writing tips. So I'm going to let her take it away.
[Whedon] makes us relate to the specially chosen and the super-powered because he shows them experiencing self-doubt, self-loathing and fear.
Yes, these men and women are exalted and special, but they're vulnerable too. That's what makes us love them, and Whedon has always understood that.
It's their reluctance -- the kind of reluctance exhibited by every major Whedon character -- that makes their sacrifices all the more meaningful. It's easy to be on a character's side when we know what their choices have cost them, and what flaws they had to overcome to make a meaningful contribution to the Big Plan for Battling Evil. We can't relate to being indestructible or unspeakably powerful (though of course, these movies tap into those aspirations), but we all know what it's like to have doubts about our own abilities, to fear letting people down and to wonder whether we can trust other people (especially others who appear to be every bit as flawed as ourselves).
Well said, isn't it? So those characters that are hugely good at something become relateable to the reader when they also have very human vulnerabilities.
By raise of hands, who has seen The Avengers?