There are two main parts to every story: internal and external conflict. These are also known as character and plot, respectively.
One of the age-old debates in the literary world is which is more important to the story. Neuroscience has answered this question with fMRI technology. According to Lisa Cron’s book, “Story Genius,” the character’s journey is more important. Why?
It’s how our brains process the story. On page 109 of “Story Genius,” Cron writes, “Cognitive psychologist and novelist Keith Oatley… defines fiction as ‘a simulation that runs on the software of our minds.” We use stories as a way to evaluate different social situations and how we would react to them. Basically, it allows us to experience the situation and reap the chemical rewards of navigating it successfully without ever being in the situation for ourselves.
Your character’s journey to change is what makes the story compelling to readers.
You need to relate to the character on some level. Our brains are wired to relate to the character, not the plot. If the character is not relatable, then the reader stops reading.
That begs the question: how can you create a relatable character and make the story compelling?