The Importance of Character Psychology

Posted April 4, 2016 by Emily in Investigated / 5 Comments


I’ve always been interested in psychology. What motivates her? What makes her tick? Why does she act that way? Those are all questions that flood my brain when I people watch. They are also the questions lurking in the back of my head when I read.

Character psychology can play a huge role in how enjoyable a book is for me. You can have the shittiest, meanest, character that no one besides Hitler can connect to. But if I can understand where that character is coming from, how that character (and his awful personality) came to be, I can appreciate accept his nefarious tendencies. It’s even more important when it comes to the main character of a novel.

The ability to connect to a character has always influenced my rating of a novel. The more I am able to connect to a character, the more likely I will like the book on a superficial level. If I can’t personally connect to the main character of a book (or god forbid, a series), there is a slight problem that may be reflected in my rating of the book later on (because I’m kind of self-absorbed). That’s when I turn to character psychology to save the day. Because at the end of the night, if I can just understand a character, it doesn’t matter if I can’t connect to him or her. If I can understand a character and all of his/her motivations/aspirations/actions aline, my enjoyment of a book will go up. And if I can’t, well, that’s not a good thing.

Sometimes the role psychology plays in my head while I read goes past understanding a character’s personality. Sometimes it’s about the actions that she takes and the feels that she… feels. Sometimes, if you examine the psychology of each character, certain actions of hers just don’t make any sense. And that really annoys me and pisses me off which negatively affects my enjoyment of a book. For example, if a gang member murdered your loving parents, the reasonable expected thing would be to hate and be angry at the gang member (and take revenge). Why on Earth would you make out and fall in love with him (in the span of 5 seconds too). It makes no freaking sense to me. It drives me bonkers when this happens in books I read. Why? WHY?

Long sotry short (this story wasn’t that long, to be honest), pyschology plays a role in the level of enjoyment I experience when I read. It can help cover my inability to connect with characters 🙂 as well as give me a headache and make me hate them. 🙁