Examples of this kind of character can be seen in the Harry Potter books. Harry Potter as a character becomes someone you can't stop reading about and about whose life you feel strongly. His opposite, Voldemort is a mean and vicious villain. But each of these characters' lives becomes a thread you must hold onto until the book is finished.
To use an example of one of my own characters, Carolyn Samuels in my young adult novel, If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor is someone who most readers connect with and whose story they want to follow. Many of the reviews say the reader couldn't put this book down. The same is true for the mean girl, Jennifer Taylor in the same novel, whose story intersects with Carolyn's. Many readers identify with Jennifer. She is a very complicated character whose mean streak has a reason.
How do you create such a character? What does a writer need to do to fashion characters like these? I think the one thing that a reader will be attracted to is a truthful portrayal of the character. To do this you as a writer must know your character even before you write one word on your page. Knowing what is most important to this character and what they will do to get it gives the writer a way to create a strong plot line. Make your readers feel something for your character right away on the first page. In other words, hook them with your first paragraph. Surround your character with people and/or animals who will reflect the kind of person your character is. With a strong and charismatic character and a well organized plot line yours will be one of the books that people say they can't put down.
What happens when you have created strong characters and have a good plot line is the story will write itself. The best time is when the characters start to interact and you have no idea what they will say. Yet there it is on the page. Your characters have written the story and you have transcribed it. The best parts of my novel were written this way. If while you are writing a character seems to want to shine a little more, let it. Don't try to fence in your characters. They need room to grow and expand and the best characters show growth by the end of the book.
Barbara Ehrentreu Bio: