I write for children. This means that I need to learn what makes a child want to read. Is it the plot or the characters? Plot stimulates the growth of the characters. But characters are what bring kids to read the stories. Characters have to overcome certain challenges. The motivation of my characters drive the story. If all it took was a good story, then kids would watch a movie instead. The kids identify with the characters. It's magic. The author creates people that these kids either love or hate. And the characters remind them of kids that they know. The characters come to life in the pages of my books. They are real to me as I write about them. Then (hopefully)the reader grows to love them and wants to hold on to them. Characters think and feel. The reader wants to share in those thoughts and feelings.
Writers write books. Writers need to read books too. Read what you write and everything else in between. It gives a writer a feel for the way books are written. And characters don't have to say what they think. In life no one says everything they think. But the reader knows what the protagonist is thinking and loves being able to get into his/her mind.
One of the best books ever written is The Music of Dolphins By Karen Hesse. At the beginning of the book the first-person narrator is nonverbal. She must work to learn plain language, but her thoughts are expressed in the contrasting print.
Any thoughts on characters are greatly appreciated here. No matter what we write, we need characters. Thanks for reading. :)