on Writing Forward:
Characters are the heart and soul of every story.
Almost every great story is about people. Plot, setting, theme, and other elements of fiction are secondary to realistic characters that an audience can connect with on an intellectual or emotional level.
There are exceptions, of course. Some readers enjoy plot-driven stories, but they never seem to achieve the massive popularity that stories with rich, layered characters achieve. Why do fans adore Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen? Because they feel like real people.
We connect with characters in fiction for any number of reasons.