Sunday, October 3, 2010
The Popular Kid
Why does this work? Simple.
A popular character is praised by others. Praise is something that most human beings desire and want for themselves. If a character is popular, he/she is fulfilling the readers wish to be popular.
Remember wish fulfillment? It's important that your character doesn't abuse the wish. If he's/she's popular, he/she should not use his popularity to achieve cruel or selfish things.
Instead, a character who helps those that praise and love him will be even more likable than if he were simply popular.
Also, popularity often comes with power. Power is an interesting quality, so having a popular villain is something to consider.
In general, combining the wish fulfilling popularity, the likable quality of helping others, and the interesting quality of power is easy and results in a highly likable character.
Just make sure your popular character isn't a self absorbed brat. We all know what those are like: yuck!
Unless of course he (or she) is a villain. Then yuck might be exactly what your aiming for.
If you want examples of popular likable characters, look at Aragorn from "The Lord of The Rings" and Harry Potter from (you guessed it) "Harry Potter." Other characters just can't stop praising these two.