Extras: For Writers: Rooting Interests

  1. We care about characters we feel sorry for (empathy)
  2. We like characters with humanistic traits
  3. We like to admire the character 

Most importantly, we like someone with a mix from all three of these categories.


  • undeserved mistreatment
  • undeserved misfortune (bad luck)
  • physical or mental handicap 
  • frustration or humiliation (embarrassment)
  • a moment of weakness
  • abandoned
  • betrayal
  • telling the truth but not being believed
  • exclusion and rejection (not one of the group)
  • loneliness and neglect
  • feeling guilty when one’s mistake causes pain
  • represses pain
  • life endangerment

Humanistic traits:

  • lets down his defenses in a private moment
  • (bonus pts if someone invades his privacy and humiliates him)
  • helps less fortunate
  • relates to children
  • children like character
  • patting the dog & dog likes character
  • change of heart
  • comes to aid of a friend
  • risk life for another
  • sacrifices themself
  • cares for just cause (dies for a just cause)
  • ethical or moral & responsible
  • dependable, loyal
  • loves other people
  • generous, caring act, compassion, altruistic

Admiration traits:

  • Power and charisma
  • Self-confident
  • Courage (mental and physical)
  • Passionate
  • Attractive
  • Skilled (competent)
  • Thoughtful & wise
  • Witty & clever
  • Sense of humor
  • Playful
  • Physical and athletic
  • Wounded and continues on
  • Unique way of living
  • Underdog who tries hard
  • Active rather than passive
  • Surrounded by admirers