How are you creating characters?
Creating Characters – Know Them Well
Before you write, you need to know what characters you want to include. In fiction, developing well-rounded characters is a key component in telling a good story. Here are some tips to consider when creating characters.
Understand Your Characters
The most important thing to remember when creating a character, is that you should know way more about him or her than the reader at any give time. Or, at least have a good idea of who your character is. When I write, sometimes motivations change and characteristics transform into something completely different from what I started with. That makes the writing more fun, because you learn more about your character as you go.
Give Your Characters Purpose
You should know your character’s back story, appearance, motivations, etc., especially if it’s the main character, but if you don’t give your characters purpose or a reason for doing something it’ll be hard to move the plot along. You don’t have to map out every little detail and stick to it no matter what. I certainly don’t do that, but I do create an outline or guideline for who the characters are and who they’ll be.
No matter the size of the character’s role, make sure each of them has a purpose. It could be as simple as giving the main character coffee at the cafe or as big as providing them information that blows the case wide open. If you put a lot of focus on a minor character, don’t forget about him or her. If you spend a lot of time describing him, including him in interactions, or sharing his back story, make sure he or she is important to the plot.
Creating Characters With Relevance
Do you want to waste a whole chapter talking about the school janitor when he’s never going to come back in the story? No. He deserves maybe a paragraph or two letting the main character know something, or even just snapping at him for being in his way. Minor characters can be an exciting tool to push the character in a different direction. Take them down a different hallway or a street they don’t usually go down. Try to make sure all characters and their actions are relevant to the plot, or even use them to describe a particular setting.
Be Consistent With Details
To me, there are three main aspects of a character: appearance, personality, and motivation. Appearance is something you should know right off the bat and keep it consistent. You can’t describe how muscular they are in one scene and then describe them as weak and scrawny in the next. Remember what your characters look like and slowly pepper descriptors throughout the story. No one wants to read a whole chapter about someone’s eyes. Use actions to make it easier to draw attention to a physical feature. The key in writing is always show, don’t tell.
A character’s personality can change throughout the story. That’s called growth, a character arc, maturing into an independent adult. Again, you can SHOW a person’s personality by letting them interact with others and the environment. It doesn’t have to be complex. Instead of saying, Charlie is a neat freak, you could send him into his sister’s room for something and have him start organizing her room. In just a sentence or two, people will understand that Charlie likes to be organized and that transfers to his family members.
Lastly, there is motivation. If your characters have no motivation or purpose, then why are you writing the story? The moral of your story doesn’t always have to be this deep profound thing. It depends on what genre you like to write. If you’re writing a romance, usually the goal is to find love. If you’re writing a crime novel, the goal is to catch the killer.
Give Your Readers Credit
I’ve learned that you have to give readers more credit. You don’t have to spell everything out for them. Let them use their imagination and come to their own conclusions. As a writer, you want to take people on an adventure. It’d be dull having a story that only includes random descriptors. Charlie’s hair is red. Charlie likes the park. He likes to read. His mom’s name is Abigail. Give your reader some action and show them something that ignites their imagination.
As a writer, you can entertain, inform, and share your opinions with the world. It can be a big or small message, or just something fun to take your mind off things. The choice is yours. Whether you know it or not, you always have a purpose with your writing. There’s always a reason why you’re writing the story that you are, so take care of your characters. Develop them well! Good luck!
Thanks for reading my thoughts on creating characters! Share your ideas below.
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