How can I make this character matter??

Forums Fiction Characters How can I make this character matter??

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    The Fledgling Artist

    Does anyone have any interesting, random, or crazy ideas on what makes a character matter to the overall story? I have this character that I feel I need for thematic reasons, but it wouldn’t really make sense to any of the other characters for her to be a part of what they’re doing. Am I making sense?
    I guess I’m trying to ask, what can I do to make this character important enough to have any reason join the other characters?

    Would it help if I gave a few of the reasons it might not make sense to the characters?
    First of all she is sickly and wouldn’t be much help in the action. Next, because reasons, it’s super important that she doesn’t touch the protagonist. And because same reasons everyone except her brother would be distrustful and uncomfortable around her.

    How can I get her to be a part of my squad??

    I greatly appreciate any input! Thanks guys. (Feel free to ask questions if I’m not making any sense.)


    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."


    @the-fledgling-artist She could have something they need, such as knowledge they don’t have, and she’s then useful to them even if she can’t otherwise help and they don’t trust her.


    Katherine Baker

    Trying to throw my own thoughts into the question. First, a few questions: are your characters on some sort of quest? What is the group trying to accomplish (or are they just friends)? Is her brother in this group?

    Anyway, here are some thoughts without those answers: If her brother is in the group, perhaps he brought her along (to take care of her, perhaps?)

    Does she have a skill that the others are in need of and lacking? (Even if it’s as simple as being able to forage for plants or knowing how to bandage wounds, something that would aid in the band’s survival would garner her a reason to join).

    Does she have a debt to someone, or does someone have a debt to her? (Maybe by some circumstance she has to come [i.e. someone saved her life and she won’t leave them alone trying to repay a life debt, she has helped someone else (financially or otherwise) and joining is the way she wishes to be repaid]).

    Like @turtleshavetoes said, does she have knowledge the others are needing and lacking?

    Can she force her way into the group without the group’s approval? Does she even want to?

    Does someone in the group (i.e. her brother) feel responsible for her? Do they need to take care of her?

    Similarly, would she die if she were left alone? Do they feel morally obligated to bring her along?

    Does someone have a crush on her and is keeping her on the team?

    Is someone keeping her on the team so they can keep an eye on her?


    If I’m not understanding you, please give me any clarification that you can tell I’m missing. I hope something I said here sticks. 🙂

    Always remember you're unique...
    ...Just like everyone else

    Thomas (CrØss_Bl₳de)

    Just an idea here (That I’ll use more than one, I’m sure): Make the character disappear for a good hunk of time, then, when all hope seems lost, bring that character back.

    *Forum Signature here*

    The Fledgling Artist

    Yes they are on a quest of sorts. Her brother along with the other characters in the group are trying to accomplish something that could be boiled down to defeating their world’s source of evil.

    I like the idea that she’s there partly because her brother.. Though I’d like to give her a little more agency then that if I can figure her out.

    All of what you’ve said is very helpful food for thought. Thank you!

    I like that.. Though I’m not sure yet what kind of information she could know that everyone else doesn’t. (especially her brother.)

    I would like, if possible for her to be present for most of the story. But thank you for the idea! I’ll take as many of those as I can. ^-^

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."


    This idea depends on the genre, but what if she has a hidden superpower? Maybe every time she uses her power, she loses a bit of health or strength. That could explain why she’s so sickly. Also, she could sacrifice herself by using her last bit of power to help someone, which means draining her last ounce of health. I know it sounds cruel, but maybe it would be good to add the tragedy aspect.

    Another way you could make her useful is if she has useful knowledge about something (i.e., a prophesy, the way the world used to be, a secret code/language, etc.)


    "May it be mercy I show for it is mercy I've been shown." - Written to Speak

    The Fledgling Artist

    @mgtask Thanks for your ideas! 🙂

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."


    @the-fledgling-artist I think that as long as the character contributes to the theme of the story (and plot too?) that she doesn’t need to be WANTED within the group, and maybe her being an outsider is something that people reading your story can connect with.

    So it could possibly be that she’s just a non-influential character and you need to give her some more motivation… just a thought 😀


    Here is more of an answer to your question XD. Everyone has gifts of some sort so maybe throughout the course of the story she can find her place and become accepted over time. Maybe her rejection is not so much her flaw as it is the flaw of the other members of the group that they need to overcome… she could be the tension used to develop your other characters.


    @the-fledgling-artist The easy way to incorporate this character would to make a situation where the other characters need to protect her, since she’s so sickly. Perhaps the evil of this world has an interest in her and would like to kill her or otherwise keep her incapacitated, and her brother feels an obligation to protect her. This could create a lot of tension in the story as the protagonist has to avoid her and the other characters resent the brother’s obligation to protect his sister.

    In other words, the evil of the story attacks this character as an attempt to stop the heroes from finishing their quest by strapping them with an obligation to protect her due to the brother’s familial obligation. A hostage situation could also work depending on the needs of the story.

    Sarah, Miss S, Sierepica_Fuzzywalker

    Gabrielle Pollack

    @the-fledgling-artist Some ideas: Could she have some connection with the villain/antagonist? Could she be a traitor (I have a feeling that’s not the direction you want to go in, but I thought I’d throw it out anyway XD)? Does anyone in the team go to her for advice? Could her brother have some sort of telepathic connection to her that lets them communicate without physically being together? Does she provide a safe house for them sometime during the journey? Does she have a talent no one knows about? Is she secretly part of the solution to overcoming their world’s evil?

    The Fledgling Artist

    @calebonline @myclipboardismyviolin @gabriellepollack
    Thank you guys so much for your ideas. I think as of now, I have good enough reasons for her to be there without readers rolling their eyes at me. Haha. Initially, I thought when the story starts off she would already be sick/having issues. But when I figured out that it made more sense for her to run into those problems after the story starts it only made sense to me that she would be really good friends with the protag (until things and story ofc) plus I liked the idea that she had to go with them for safety reasons. I discovered, as writers do, that things need to happen to their home anyways… So it all makes sense. 😀

    I loved hearing all these fun ideas, even though most of them didn’t get used. It’s really fun imagination fuel. Hehe.

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."

    Gabrielle Pollack

    @the-fledgling-artist Yay! Glad you figured it all out. 🙂

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