There are so many different things we have to worry about in our writing.  Plot.  Structure.  Pacing.  Word choice.  Slaughter of innocent adverbs.

The list goes on and on.

I wonder if sometimes books get pushed through with very little thought to whether the characters are ones we can actually care about.

I’m not naming names or anything and I’m sure that every author does worry about it at some point.

For me, the story can be there and whatever, but if I can’t care about the characters, I’m done.  If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care about what happens to them.

Case in point, last week’s episode of the CBS television show NCIS: LA.  Skip the next paragraph if you don’t want any spoilers.

Earlier in the season, one character got abducted.  There were no answers to who took him or why they did.  Over the course of a few episodes, most of which held nothing more than a passing mention of the character’s name (if that).  They didn’t deal with anything about him beyond the first episode where he got taken and then last week’s.  Last week they found him.  But then he got killed.  And let me tell you, I couldn’t care less.  I never missed him, I didn’t care about him, etc.

Here’s the reason: Lack of interaction.  He’d only been around for a handful of episodes when he was abducted.  And he was just a side note character.  There was no reason for me to care or worry about where he was.

Do we try too hard to make readers care about our characters, even the characters who only show up in one chapter only to be heard from again at the climax?

What makes you care about a character?  Sound off in the comments.