I really like when I’m reading a book and bond with the character early-on. I think the earlier the better. As a writer, I’m cognizant of how important this is to the reader’s experience. If they don’t bond, the reader won’t keep reading. I need to make the reader care about the character enough to turn the pages.
Part of that is establishing what’s at stake for the character, but it’s also about making sure that I’m including details that help with the bonding. In other words, do I share enough about the character that the reader knows him and cares about him?
These details might include:
Physical description: How many times have you read something and have no idea what the person you’re reading about looks like? I think that every reader likes a few hints.
Who is this person: Is he single, married? An only child? An orphan? Handicapped? Terrible at math? Likes comic books? In other words, share stuff that makes this person come alive in the reader’s mind.
What is protagonist’s goal: What is it that the protagonist wants to accomplish? Find his mom who walked out on him when he was 3? Climb a mountain? Find the killer?
As a writer, how do you foster this bonding? Can you name a character that you bonded with quickly?