“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” - Toni Morrison

Monday, June 30, 2014

Five Tips on How To Write a Great Character

As I come with more and more story ideas, I've started running into problems with my characters - a lot of them are a slight variation on each other. For example, I seem to have only two types of female characters - the quiet, nerdy type or the sarcastic, opinionated type. This is obviously a problem.

In my research, I've come up with a few good hints for writing good characters.

1. Give each character one of your own personality characteristics. But also give that character a characteristic that is completely opposite to your own personality.

2. No one's perfect, and no one's completely evil, either. Give your characters both virtues and flaws. And give them reasons why they're that way (see #3 below). Not everything comes from an unhappy childhood, Mr. Freud.

3. Motivation. What motivates your character? Did Bob kill his mother because he hated her or wanted to protect her? Did Fred steal the cookies because he was starving or just because he likes them?

4. Fears. Just like everyone has flaws, everyone's afraid of something. What is your character afraid of? Drowning? Sinning? Disappointing his parents?

5. Don't use stereotypes - use archetypes. I recently found a great book called 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. It is very helpful for creating an original character, and everything I said above is in this book...and more. And remember, flat characters are very boring - make your characters, multi-dimensional.

I hope these tips were helpful. And remember, I take requests for writing tips. :)


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