You love them and you hate them. Characters. Whether it is in the book you just picked up, movies you watch, or NPCs (non-player characters for non-gamers) that you encounter. At least, you should love them or hate them. I recently picked up a new book this weekend and had to put it down after three chapters. This happens with both authors I know and don't know, big and small names. I've had this happen with non-player characters too where I could care less if I help them or not.
This can happen for so many reasons. I want to talk about the positive though because that's who I am. My favorite part of creating characters is their quirks. This is not only flesh and blood or lack of blood people/creatures, but the setting as well. Settings should be given the same quirks and distinguishing marks as people. Maybe that meeting place for your characters has a chalkboard or bulletin board of some sorts where people from the town or travelers leave notes or are looking for help. Possibly there stood a building in an empty lot that if they look through, they can find small pieces of what once stood there. For people, it could be scars, hair color, or even how perfect they seem (because no one is) that sets them apart.
Characters you make need to show emotion. This is easier when you game because you get to act out your characters. Recently in one of my gaming sessions, one of our players said something highly offensive to the only NPC who would talk to us. I had to actively seek out this NPC to get more information and he was not happy I still hung around with the other player. He reacted exactly as you expected someone who was offended would. I was honestly sad when I said bye to him too because we had gotten along so well.
The point is, he seemed real. He reacted the way the way I expected him too. A character devastated by loss might tear up when they think of the person who is gone. A character might unexpected lose their poker face when presented with an item they've been looking for all their life.
I've covered the description of a character, noting anything radical or out of place. This is one way your reader or players connect. Also covered is the way they act or behave that can make them likable or not. Your reader or players become engaged when they connect with someone or something in the story. If seeing the person they were rooting for succeed or destroying somewhere that they loved affected them, you have done a great job.
These are things that really help me connect and fall in love with not just the characters and setting, but the story just gets interesting.
Question: Anything else that helps you connect with characters or places?
Quote: "I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing." ~ Anais Nin