If you are a writer, you are a creator. You can create the whole new live and vivid world out of a blank sheet of paper. You are a real magician, but as every magician you have your limits. Magic is not an eternal thing; it ends someday and somehow. The problem is that this “somehow” comes when you’re least expecting. At some point, you are just stuck with creating this new world of yours. This is a problem that almost every writer has experienced, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. You are not an endless fountain of ideas; you are a human, only the writing one. At this point, you must develop a strategy that works for you, that may help you get over this crisis so you can go on writing about your characters. Your character can be anyone: from an insect to an ancient god, but it doesn’t mean that if your leading character is a cockroach, you shouldn’t focus on the details of its appearance and behavior (Yeah, cockroaches can also be leading characters). You are welcome to read some useful writing tips on a character creation, character development and so on.
Let’s dig into the atmosphere of a fictional world and incredible beings which inhabit this world, and find out what writing tips are most useful for you!
First of all, we’d like to focus on the definition of a term “character”. A character is a protagonist of a novel who possesses some distinct personality traits, points of view, life philosophy, behavior, etc. It can be a leading character whose actions, and destiny is the main part of a novel’s plot.
Characters can be:
All these three categories are interconnected: the first category represents the key players of a story; they are those who walk you over the plot; the second category represents the other part of a story. These characters can be best friends or relatives of the leading characters, they can give some useful advises, or help the primary hero understand something that is vital for the development of the plot. However, more often than not, such secondary characters require some development along the way. Their story may become a sequel, and secondary characters, all of a sudden, may become the leading ones. This is a common practice for novels with multiple characters. The background characters are necessary to link the story, to add some color to the plot, add some significance to routine actions of the leading characters.
However, many other characters categories (they are also called archetypes) exist: male or female characters, animal characters, and their subcategories, for example: bad guy archetype, cutie, adventures seeker, temptress, badass girl, crusader, librarian girl, etc. All these archetypes may be your helpful tool when creating a character of your story. Your protagonist may be based on a single archetype, or he/she can have mixed archetypes with the one dominant archetype.
Now, we’d like to give several writing tips on a character description process, and how to start describing characters:
The first thing that you have to understand is that there are different readers; hence, they like different characters, so you should know how to create many and various characters with unique personalities. Characters, their appearance, their actions, motives, and emotions are those things that make your novel exceptional, unique and interesting for readers.
One of the most difficult tasks in the book writing process is to create an interesting protagonist of a story. It not only has to possess some positive or negative character qualities, appropriate appearance, but also this character has to be interesting for readers. Readers should want to know him or her, should want to get to the core of his or her problems. What were his or her motives? Why he became a villain? Why he turned to the evil side? What made him become good again?
Deep into details of appearance, outfit, the way he or she moves, his or her gestures, some illustrious qualities, the way light falls on him/her.
Imagine your character. Close your eyes and try to imagine your protagonist. What can you see? Where is your character? How old is he or she? What is he or she? If you are writing a fiction novel, and you are about to create a totally weird looking character, you may even try to draw him/her/it to be precise.
Just don’t follow blindly shopworn clichés: when you come with an idea how your character should look like, demonstrate your readers how this protagonist looks like in the eyes of another hero of your story.
Create detailed profiles of your characters. This will help you not to get lost in life facts of your heroes. Create a separate document that contains: your hero/heroine’s full name, date and place of birth, birthmarks (if any), current address, relatives (if any), zodiac sign, appearance, outfit, his/her/its temper, his/her/its humor (if any), favorite color, attitude to others, life philosophy, trade, whether he/she is married, children (if any), drama (previous history), tragedy in life, habits, distinct gestures, etc. All of it may be helpful in the course of writing a novel.
Do not overpopulate your story. Remember, if readers cannot remember the name of a certain character, it’s bad. This means that the reader won’t be able to handle this ten-hour reading marathon. There is a generally accepted number of characters that will work for every story: three characters taking part in the plot are good. While only two characters are not enough for a good story, three characters are almost perfect. However, if your story requires many protagonists, be ready to focus on every one of them.
Every character should have some previous history that is directly connected to current events: it can be a sequence of events that has led him/her/it to where he or she is, or it can be a mystery that the other leading character must reveal to get to the happy ending. In any case, don’t disclose all the history at once. By doing so, you won’t be able to hold a reader’s attention till the very end of the story. A mystery that is directly related to the protagonist must be revealed gradually along the plot. Give information in portion: feed your readers’ interest and hold them in suspense.
Define strengths and weaknesses of your protagonists. Even a superhero must possess a dark side of him, some weaknesses that make him human. You must create a believable character that every reader will be able to identify himself/herself with. You may add some bad habits to your protagonist, just don’t go too deep in there (alcohol abuse is acceptable, but think of some other options). When it comes to villains of a story, such characters should have the better part of them that will make readers wonder over his/her/its personality, his/her/its reasons, etc.
Characters are the heart, the soul and the body of any story. They are mirrors of ourselves and readers like them because of this striking resemblance. In conclusion, we’d like to add that to make your readers like the protagonists of your story, your characters should be:
Remember, even bad guys possess this dark charm that makes people want to know them.We hope that these writing tips on characters creation, description and development will be helpful in your writing process. So, happy character writing to you!
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