Why Writing Characters that Readers Identify with is the Most Important Thing You Can Do as a Writer

Netflix

Umbrella Academy television series has a great plot. The dialogue is witty and sometimes profound. The acting is superb. The scenes are great cinematography. Why can’t I get into it? I’m not their target audience. I’m a woman in her forties, a mother, and a writer. I’m no longer a person seeking the approval or love of a parent. I am the parent, so I don’t identify with the theme of adults getting over their childhood trauma.

After a rewatch of episode one and part of episode two, I figured out what it is about the show that keeps me from getting hooked. The first episode doesn’t focus on a single character’s story long enough for me to get emotionally involved, or at least the character I would identify with.

I think, as a mother, I would have identified with Allison Hargrave the most. Her story is glanced over in favor of the others. It’s mentioned, but not delved into. Whereas, the other characters, have spotlights into their pasts. She seems written as a love interest for Luther. I may have also identified with “Mom”, Grace Hargrave, but she’s a peripheral character meant to show Diego, despite his fiery nature, is a good and caring son. I think as a queer, I may have identified with Klaus Hargrave, but he’s only explored on the surface level too. I don’t find myself an unspecial girl among talented siblings so, nope, Vanya doesn’t do it for me either.

Argue all you want about it being about the quality of writing, but this is the true reason some people are not fans of Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey, or any story with angsty protagonists. No matter how good the plot, dialogue, or , there is something in our brain that says, not relatable, not interested.

Umbrella Academy is a good show, but it is not one I connect with. I’ll keep watching with my family because they like it for their own reasons, all the while hoping that Allison and how she rose to stardom and lost her family is more developed.





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