character creation writing


Are they someone who speaks up for themselves? Now, not all characters go through trauma, but there are other big life events that can shape how they behave. Whos someone causing emotional struggles in their life?

Hermione has buck teeth (up until she has them shortened a bit too much and this is only in the books for those of you about to argue), and Ron has flaming red hair. If your characters strength is talking to strangers and gaining their trust, this might be an asset for them throughout their journey. Since you know your characters backstory, do a little research into how those specific struggles or realities can shape a persons psyche in order to accurately and realistically craft their behavior. What order are they in their family (first born, middle, etc.)?

Before you go, be sure to grab my character arc worksheet. For example, does your character show respect to a waitress and recognize her by name? You wont come close to using all of the information you know about him, but the more you know, the more plot ideas will occur to you. This character arc is distinct in that his mental and emotional journey from start to finish is wildly different. But because of the characters they fell in love with. Looking into some psychological effects of trauma can help you accurately and realistically dive into character development. The same is likely true for your character. If you write two characters from very different areas of the world and they have the same style of speaking, your audience will be pulled out of the story because its not realistic. Dont base your hero on images from movies and TV shows. Reference your characters backstories and do a little research into possible coping mechanisms and how that can affect their personality. Give naming the time it needs. These are very distinct features that can help you picture them as wildly different characters. The more you try to make your character flawless, the less readers can relate and therefore, theyll like them less. Bella Rose Pope is the Content Marketing Specialist here at Self-Publishing School. The best way to develop a character is to, in essence, become that character. Our realities are shaped by where weve been, where we are, and where we want to go. Now that you know which type of character youre focusing on here when, Your job is to fill out what their life has looked like up until. I pick at the skin around my nails. I recently ran into an old friend who told me she was homeless. As an example, I have two characters who both have a tragic background. But if he was just trying to kill Harry Potter for the sake of murdering a child, it wouldnt make sense. Give her a follow: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Youtube. The better acquainted you are with your character, the better your readers will come to know him and care. Youve narrowed it to a sentence or two, and youre ready to tackle what seems an insurmountable taskdeveloping your lead character. Frankly, Outliners have some advantages over Pantsers here. Required fields are marked *. No outlines for us. If you have a character whose parents were very strict growing up, they may be a bit of a rebel and lack the decision making abilities others have mostly because they never learned how since their parents made those choices for them. Id love to impart some gem that would magically make you an expert at character development. He escapes Widow Douglass efforts to reform him and a miserable life with his drunken father, joining his new friend Jim, a runaway slave. We write by process of discovery. Get comfortable with thinking of them as real and you almost always will have a well-developed character. This will determine his inner dialogue. If theres one Cardinal Rule of fiction, this is it. A well-developed character should be extraordinary, but relatable. We all speak differently and that means your characters should too. Why? Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase. Now that you know which type of character youre focusing on here when writing your book, lets dive deeper into the character development methods you can use and exercises to help you get it right. Want to turn your Jimmy Stewart into a George Bailey? More on our Privacy Policy. In the end, after he has learned all the lessons he needs to from his failures to get out of the terrible trouble you plunged him into, he must rise to the occasion and score a great moral victory. Even after he finds his cancer is in remission, he embraces the illegal drug culture and in the end destroys his own life, his family, and many other lives. This is when some research will come into play, which should be required anyway. You can debate this all you want, but coming from someone who reads many books, its a very real issue that only you and other writers going forward can correct. Develop it from there in order to have realistic personalities that differ. Not only will you be able to keep track, but you can zoom out and better see if youre creating two character archetypes who are too much alike. Create events that subtly exhibit strength of character and spirit. Youd have to interview someone who has endured such a tragedy and has had the time to be able to talk about it. Are you ready to get started right now? So, what are the keys to making a character unforgettable? The character development in your story is vital for its selling. Its likely you were able to think of something in just a few seconds because its so unique to them and something they say a lot. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. you have to understand which type of character youre dealing with. [*I use male pronouns inclusively here to represent both genders only to avoid the awkward repetition of he/she or him/her, fully recognizing that many lead characters are female and so are a majority of readers.]. Deformities? (UPDATED IN 2022 for fiction writers!) For example, one of my main characters has high levels of anxiety. Depending on where theyre from, they could have different accents. They know a lot about their lead characters before they start writing. It is certainly okay to allow him to face obstacles and challenges, but never portray him as a wimp or a coward. Using it is part of the joy of reading. Potentially heroic, yes. If you cant imagine your characters as a real-life person, theyre not quite complex enough to be well developed. You cheat your readers when your lead character doesnt develop and grow. You want something interesting and memorable, but not quirky or outrageous. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. I wrote a Christmas parable where the main character was Tom Douten (get it? Give your character qualities that captivate and compel the reader to continue. Because his insurance wont cover enough of his treatment costs to keep from bankrupting him, out of desperation he uses his skills to develop and sell quality methamphetamine, which allows him to afford the treatments and dig his family out of a financial hole. Think back to the last time you felt in danger, multiply that by a thousand, and become your character. This is largely how plot holes arise so in order to avoid them, stick to this character development method. Search online for baby names of both sexes, and most lists will categorize these by ethnicity. The reason for this is because so many writers feel as though they need a side character (or even a main character) but is too lazy to do the real work. Yes, hes evil, but he also has a valid reason for wanting him dead, right? For example, one of my main characters has high levels of anxiety. Character Development Cheat Sheet [also printable!]. You wouldnt have characters named Jaxon and Brandi, for instance, in a story set in Elizabethan England. Naturally, we treat heroes with more respect. Are they a troublemaker or do they play by the rules? books, its a very real issue that only you and other writers going forward can correct. A classic example is Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickenss A Christmas Carol. The point of giving your characters unique voices is to ensure your readers imagine them as real people instead of two-dimensional beings living in paper. Your email address will not be published. WEBSITE DESIGN BY LAUGH EAT LEARN, This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. What do they look like (full appearance)? Think about what could annoy your main character the most and give your secondary characters some of those habits or personality traits. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with our cookie use. Spellbinding stories feature believable characters who feel knowable. Yet what reader can fail to thrill at the brilliant character arc that sees him become an entirely new manjoyful, generous, and lovingwho learns to feel again? Fast track your character development in HALF the time. As the life of your character unfolds, show who your character is through what he says, his body language, his thoughts, and what he does. For example, lets use Harry Potter again because you probably know what the main characters look like. Be careful not to make your hero irredeemable for instance, a wimp, a scaredy cat, a slob, a dunce, or a doofus (like a cop who forgets his gun or his ammunition). Character development is the process and execution of creating a fully rounded, complex, and lifelike character within your fictional writing with the purpose of making readers invested in them and their life or journey. It can be really hard to write your favorite fictional person as having flaws. As an example, Im going to use Harry Potter from that series simply because its widely known and his character arc even within the first novel is distinct. It was George Baileys sacrificing his travel-the-world dreams to take over the lowly savings and loan that made his standing up to the villainous Mr. Potter so heroic in the classic movie Its a Wonderful Life. Render a lead character your reader can identify with, and in your ending hell see himself with the same potential. But does it really matter whether your reader visualizes your blonde heroine as Gwyneth Paltrow or Charlize Theron? Yes, even if your genre is Fantasy or Allegory or Futuristic. Then it turns up the heat and fosters change and growth in the character from the beginning. Came home from the hospital yesterday., Vacation was the tonic, Bud, Fritz told the doorman. These are some basic elements you should understand about your character in order to shape their personality, opinions, and actions that appropriately fit their background. Do they think logically or emotionally to make decisions? He has to kill Harry Potter because hes the only person who was able to defeat him before and because the prophecy says so. Be sure the name is historically and geographically accurate. What your characters are good at and what theyre not great at will affect how they perceive different events, what actions they choose to take, and can affect their overall character arc (which well touch on later). Leave Blaze Starr and Goodnight Robicheaux to the melodramas. In the most memorable classicsespecially those with happy endingsthe character develops skills and strengths that make him heroic. You do not have to write a book about these things in order for you to include them in your novel. Huck lies, cheats, and steals his way down the Mississippi River, learns to survive, perseveres through difficulty, and matures into a young man who chooses to do whats right, regardless the consequences. Youll find that most people love talking about their lives and professions. Regardless which kind of a writer you are, character developmentcharacter arccan make or break your novel. After all, we all have people in our. Grab a copy of Published. James, right?, Jimmys doin great, thanks. ), Their parents (divorced, never married, one missing, both missing), Their hobbies and interests as a kid versus now, Their motivations for feeling the way they do about any given situation, Their personality type and how it affects their actions. Howeverthis is actually much harder to accomplish as a writer than it seems, even if writing and self-publishing a successful book hinges on it. Make sure these play into the plot in order to cause conflict and gain sympathy from readers who can relate. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. These tips can ensure your characters speak differently: Ill be honest, there is a very real problem in literature when it comes to diversity. Ill pair the first name of a current government leader in that country with the last name of one of their historical figures (but not one so famous that the reader wonders if hes related, like Franois Bonaparte). A lead character without human qualities is impossible to identify with. Need help creating your characters? These are the different types of characters to write: Dont be alarmed if you think this is a lot of different types of characters. Sometimes its worth it to have a character development sheet to keep track of your characters. Theres nothing like personal experience to help you develop characters. When he faces a life or death situation, youll know how he should respond. Youre tanned as a movie star., As he settled into the backseat of the car, Fritz said, Tell me your name and how long youve been driving Uber. Tattoos? Youve settled on the idea for your novel. As I teach regarding descriptions of the sky and the weather and settings, its important that your description of your main character is not rendered as a separate element. In fact, its specifically because someone fell in love with the characters and care so much about them and their journey that theyre willing to follow them through the entirety of it. For instance, I can imagine myself as a woman. If you write two characters from very different areas of the world and they have the same style of speaking, your audience will be pulled out of the story because its not realistic.

Look through your characters and their appearances as well as their personalities. Your characters should be developed in the same way. It also applies to character development. These are often called Mary Sue characters. Cover these main ideas when crafting your characters background: One of the biggest means of influence over your characters will be their strengths or weaknesses. The more challenges he faces, the better for your story and for his arc. I often refer to World Almanacs to find names for foreign characters. Compelling characters like these make the difference between a memorable novel and a forgettable one. Can you name the novels they come from and what they have in common? Because you want to firstly create more diversity and secondly, create some non-plot-specific conflict. wants to kill Harry. No growth, no character arc. For Voldemort, it would be the fact that Harry can kill him and that he wants to rule the wizarding world. Readers often have trouble differentiating one character from another, so if you can give him a tag, in the form of a unique gesture or mannerism, that helps set him apart. List 3 major flaws your character has that can actually become problems within your plot. Consider some of literatures most memorable charactersJane Eyre, Scarlett OHara, Atticus Finch, Ebenezer Scrooge, Huckleberry Finn, Katniss Everdeen, Harry Potter. These strengths and weaknesses will shape your character arc and the plot as a whole, so know them, This can be a key characteristic that will make your characters feel more real and help make them more relatable to your readers, which will make them want to. Backstory is everything thats happened before Chapter 1. You shouldnt have a Greek named Bubba Jackson. When coming up with your antagonists motives, list at least 2 ways in which theyre valid. document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); In fact, its specifically because someone fell in love with the characters and care. Things you should know, whether you include them in your novel or not: Even superheroes have flaws and weaknesses. Huck narrates the tale with humor and brutal honesty. Piercings? After all, we want people to love them, right? Or your dark-haired hero as George Clooney or Ben Affleck? While she's not whipping up content here, she's creating her own life (and teaching others how to) over at Own Your Ordinary, hanging out with her dog, and eating something with cheese! Believe me, its both. about them and their journey that theyre willing to follow them through the entirety of it. That much we should all know even if youve never read the books or seen the movies. Ethnicity is important. A well-developed character needs a full backstory, personality traits reflective of it, realistic actions and emotions, along with being highly relatable to the average reader and as complex as a real person. Meaning, dont create all of your characters to be the dark and sarcastic type or the tough guy type. The more you try to make your character flawless, the less readers can relate and therefore, theyll like them less. If you have a main character with brown wavy hair, have the next with blonde curly hair, etc. Their voices have to be consistent and not the same. This gives them very different personalities despite having similar histories.

Dont be alarmed if you think this is a lot of different types of characters. Its how your character responds to obstaclesboth internal and external, and how he changes by the end of the story. Camouflaging your predicament and maintaining a modicum of self-respect would be worth skipping a few meals. If you have secondary characters (characters who get a decent amount of page time but are not main characters), craft their personality types to show the opposite of the main characters.

Keep in mind that siblings can certainly look similar! Maybe youve never experienced such a thing, but you can conjure it in your mind. Resist the temptation to make his life easy. Readers remember such poignant episodes, and they make your characters development even more dramatic. below to get the definitive guide on how to write a book PLUS get access to the audiobook, advanced trainings, and additional resources to help you write your book! A well-written novel that follows a Classic Story Structure plunges its main character into terrible trouble quickly. What do they envision their life to be 10 years from now? Whether youre an Outliner (in essence interviewing your character as if he were sitting right in front of you) or a Pantser (getting to know him as he reveals himself to you), the more you know about him, the better you will tell your story. To a new writer or an Outliner, it may sound exciting and dangerous to wade into a story counting on characters to emerge and take over. For Superman, theres Kryptonite. But you can bet the first time you guess at something, astute readers will call you on it. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website.

Fellow Pantsers, dont ignore or discount this training. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. If your characters no matter how minor they are dont have a motive that makes sense, readers will be pulled out of the story and end up questioning whats happening, and not in a good way. Mix and match details from people you know and yourself to create both the inner and outer person. His storyline, revolve around this mental illness, but it, A great way to ensure you never have offensive stereotyped characters is to use, Above is an example of what a character arc looks like on paper and how you can utilize. I mentioned to some women friends that I doubted her because she looked put together, as if shed been to the beauty shop. No matter which character they or what they want in your story, they need to have a real and valid reason for feeling this way. You have to build flaws into your character just like we all have drawbacks in real like. However, if that is your characters weakness and theyre forced to do so, it can cause conflict for them. Never allow your protagonist to be the victim. Above is an example of what a character arc looks like on paper and how you can utilize plot elements in order to further your characters development. We, as humans, constantly face our strengths and weaknesses on a daily basis, even in the smallest of forms. But make sure his flaws arent deal breakers. Download your free character development sheet to keep track of each , character you write. You want a character with whom your reader can relate, and to do that, he needs to be vulnerable. That being said, the one with the most influence on our lives is where weve been our past. I can be a young girl, an old man, a boy, a father, a grandmother, another race, a villain, of a different political or spiritual persuasion, etc. For standard novels, typical names are forgettable. Here are 50 character development questions to ask: Now, developing your character will be easier than ever!

What ran through your mind when you believed you were home alone and heard footsteps across the floor above? These cookies do not store any personal information. Springholes Character Motivation Generator, https://thgmwriters.com/blog/describe-character-development-crib-sheet/, Top Picks Thursday! If your character finds himself in mortal danger, imagine yourself in that predicament. When writing a book, you want your readers to easily visualize and differentiate the cast. Cookies are delicious and ours help make your experience here better. Or be shown this: Hows that grandson doing, Marci? Fritz asked the elevator operator. If youre a Pantser (like me), you may not have the patience for it and might rather dive right into the writing. Most of the time, this will happen naturally if youre giving each character a unique personality but its great to keep in mind anyway. Harry Potter is not the same at the end as he was in the beginning and this remains true throughout each book in the series. When your character comes out at the end of the book as a transformed person in certain senses, its a character arc. In the popular binge-worthy TV series Breaking Bad, Walter White begins as a nerdy, nave, kind, and thoughtful high school science teacher who learns he has cancer. For Writers & Readers 04-18-2019 | The Author Chronicles, Author Inspiration and This Weeks Writing Links Staci Troilo, 5 Character Tools You Absolutely Need to Know Writing Jobs Online. Doubting Thomas), and his fiancee was Noella (Christmasy, a believer in Santa) Wright (Miss Right). What does the perfect life look like in their eyes. Think of character development like the paper of your book. Depending on where theyre from, they could have different accents, slang, and even phrases they tend to use regularly. Choose a slang word each character likes to use, Use different wording for the same meaning like apologies versus Im sorry or my bad, Use unique sentence structures to give each character a unique speaking rhythm, Make sure your more educated characters speak like it and your less educated use simpler words and phrases, Create phrases similar to knee-high to a grasshopper with unique meanings for your characters specific regions, Read their dialogue out loud in the voice you image they have and make changes if necessary. You have to build flaws into your character just like we all have drawbacks in real like. Pinpoint your secondary characters and development them in a way that makes them clash or oppose your main characters in certain ways. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window). Sure, height, hair and eye color, and physicality (athletic or not) are important. What has shaped your character into the person he is today? Create a spreadsheet or other document that lists all your characters and document their features. You want each character to stand out as individuals. Physical imperfections? We all speak differently and that means your characters should too. I had a mother, I have a wife, I have daughters-in-law and granddaughters, a female assistant, women colleagues. Youve heard this one before, and youll hear it again. Naming your character can be almost as stressful as naming a newborn. Which means they create a stereotype of a specific type of person that can oftentimes be harmful without the author even knowing. Spend time in a classroom, interview a teacher, arrange a ride-along with a cop, interview a CEO. The last thing you want is a stereotype readers cannot identify with and whom some would see through instantly. Here is your 12 step guide for good character development: Stick with us through this post and youll learn exactly how to accomplish character development in a way that will make readers think about your characters as if they were real people. writing and self-publishing a successful book, Give your character strengths and weaknesses, Develop a wide variety of character personalities, Create an impact of your characters past, Plot-Driven vs Character-Driven Stories [7 Examples Included], About The Author: 7 Examples To Help You Write Yours, How to Write an Epilogue: 4 Easy Steps [Examples Included], How to Edit a Book: 8 Step Guide + Mistakes to Avoid, Worldbuilding in a Novel: A Guide to Creating A Believable World, Their childhood (good, bad, poverty-stricken, spoiled, etc.
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