To engage an audience, it’s important that creators help them to relate to the characters in a narrative (fictional or non-fictional) and to generate some sort of emotional attachment.

The world of ‘Casanova in Paris’ is over two and half centuries in the past, a radically different place to the one we inhabit today, but nonetheless there are shared emotions and concerns that a modern audience will recognise.  There is the social awkwardness of Stefano, the loneliness of Giuseppe, a young boy separated from his family, Gabrielle’s frustrations with the restrictions and oppressiveness of social attitudes, Casanova’s troubled relationship with his mother, the fears of Paris Duverney whose life’s work is being destroyed before his eyes, Bechard’s attempts to rationalise his cruelty and evil and to atone for his behaviour, the injustice of Monsieur Comtois’ kidnap, torture and murder.  A fundamental aspect of all human society, of course, is the family and it’s a feature we have drawn on quite a lot throughout the novel to generate a connection with the audience.  Casanova, Stefano, Marie and Giuseppe are, in reality, a family.  For ‘Paul’, Guillaime and Paris Duverney the aspect of family is central to their lives. Even with a minor character such as Monsieur Comtois we have his family worrying over his disappearance.

It doesn’t matter how removed the world of that narrative is from the actual world of the audience, whether it be on Mars, at some point in the distant past or a colony of insects inhabiting a tree stump, where there are characters there will be the possibility of drawing upon common human experience to connect the reader to them.


‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is now freely available here.

27 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.


#characterisation #character #empathy #comtois