The most important aspect of a great fictional character is how much the reader cares about him. Some characters are lovable (Wilbur the pig, Bilbo Baggins, Anne Shirley), some are heroic (Odysseus, Paul Bunyan, Superman), some are tragic (Hamlet, Willy Loman, John Henry), and some are just plain evil (Iago, Saruman, The Wicked Witch of the West). The point is, we feel strongly about them one way or another.
I have been teaching teens to write for a quarter of a century (Twenty-five years just sounds longer when you put it that way, doesn’t it?), and the online writing instruction service I founded, WriteAtHome, has been in business for a dozen years. In all that time we’ve learned a lot about how to teach writing effectively. Here are ten of the most important.