How To Create Believable Characters In Your Writing
There are many keys to writing a powerful prose. One of the proven ways is to create vivid, believable characters people will take in and enjoy associating themselves with.
Writing a novel is a time-consuming yet exciting work (here are a few tips to make the writing process simpler for you: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-clean-up-boring-and-lengthy-writing). You need to learn how to develop the plot, the outline, use the appropriate writing style and create persuasive characters. The importance of the latter is hard to overestimate; it’s often the character that the reader takes in that motivates to read the book through. Whether in fiction or non-fiction writing, the characters lead your writers through the story and often determine an overall impression from the book.
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The best professional resume writers of our service know the secrets of setting up believable characters and are willing to share them with beginning writers.
- Watch the people around you
As a writer with minimal experience, you probably don’t know how to get started. If you don’t have ideas for creating the characters for your book, start with observing the people surrounding you. Watch how they talk, their language use and favorite sayings, the gestures they repeat and the other ways the person expresses himself. Analyze the real ways people act to use it in your writing later. One of the most often advice given to beginning writers is “Write what you know” – so, as soon as you know more about people, your characters will improve too.
- Learn from the great authors
A surefire way to learn developing believable characters is to analyze how the great masters did it. Take a few of your favorite novels, and re-read them paying close attention to how the characters have been developed and presented in those books. What makes you believe them and feel connected to them? What affects their decisions in life and everyday actions? Keep a journal to write down your ideas and observations, if necessary.
- Write the character sketches prior to writing
It is recommended that you create an outline of your novel or short story before you actually get started. Your characters need outlining too; it will be hard for you to create believable characters when you keep the details about them only in your head. So, here’s what you need to plan:
- Your character’s name, gender, age, ethnicity and its place in the cast of characters (i.e. sister of protagonist);
- His/her physical appearance – a one-line description like ‘a slim brunette with short hair’ won’t do;
- The goal of putting him into a story (for instance, how he helps the protagonist throughout the way);
- His likes, strengths, and weaknesses – list them as if you were describing someone you know in real life.
- Create deeper characters using a set of questions
Now that you’ve outlined the basic features of your book’s characters, it’s time to make them more unique and create their stories. So, imagine that you are interviewing each character, and ask them the following questions:
- Who do you admire most in life?
- What was your biggest moment in life?
- What moment in your life do you feel ashamed of?
You can continue this list with your own questions. The most important thing here is to identify the inner life and psychology of each of your key characters.If the questions embarrass you, try creating each character’s backstory. Write down their story of life up to the present day. What were their parents and where did they grow up? Who were the people that influenced him/her most? How did their childhood and teenage years go? Which outstanding things took place in their life? Be creative and see where your imagination can take you.
- Make your characters contradictory
To bring your characters to live, don’t be afraid of giving them contradictory features. It’s the contradictions that make the people in real life unique and intriguing, and the same works for the characters of your book. There shouldn’t be characters which are obviously ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Pale and cliché characters aren’t catchy – they don’t intrigue and don’t evoke compassion.
Life is multidimensional; we act differently and express various sides of our personality in different situations. So, if you manage to create characters that are rich, complex and contradictory at times, your readers are more likely to associate themselves with your book’s heroes.
- Give your characters motivation
There’s a famous quote of Kurt Vonnegut that states, “Every character should want something, even if it’s only a glass of water”. Giving your characters desires and motivation is a good advice for making them believable. In real life, our course of actions is driven by our primary goals and motivation, that’s why the readers can recognize themselves in a character with similar wishes. Here are a few example of what the inner drive of your characters can be:
- Relationships, love or family
- Social status, fame and money
- A happiness for their loved ones
- Revenge for something that happened in the past
A motivation is closely connected to the backstory and the psychology of your character you’ve developed earlier. You need to explain why this character has such a goal and how it aligns with his personality. Moreover, his goals and motivation should be easy to understand upon having a look at his past.
- Beware of stereotyping
A stereotype is the set of qualities that, in common opinion, is natural for some nationality, ethnical group or even a specific person based on his/her appearance. Stereotyping destroys even the potentially good characters and is common for writers who have never met the minority they are going to write about.
So, how to avoid stereotyping? Do a research. Find out more about the cultural or ethnical group or, which is even better, meet and talk to them in real life. Otherwise, if you only operate the cliché from the Internet and TV, your characters will look artificial and won’t evoke the readers’ interest.
- Make sure your characters develop over time
However accurately you crafted your character’s story, inner struggle, goals and motivation, all of the above is bound to change as the story develops. The events that take place in your novel need to influence your key characters, their goals in life and course of actions. Your characters should make decisions which aren’t predictable and personally grow – this is what makes your story exciting. The characters that don’t change over time are like the real people who are stuck in the past – they get neither interest nor sympathy from the readers.
The well-crafted characters are what eventually bring the story to life. If you’ve worked enough hard at developing each character and humanized them, the story you write will then continue to develop on its own. The characters are the blood of your story and they can drive it and capture the imagination of your readers. And, one day, some of your readers will say upon reading your book: “I know someone like that in my life”.
If you lack creativity for outlining your characters, check these tips to freshen up your mind: http://resumeperk.com/blog/7-important-facts-how-to-bring-together-reader-and-character.
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