Mod S2S Mentor

One part of writing that many people find hard is charecter creation. Creating well rounded interesting characters takes time and work. This blog post focuses more on the creation of major characters but these tips can apply to minor characters.

I think a good place to start with for any character is a basic concept. My characters are complex with a lot of traits but can still be broken down into a one-sentence description. Ellis could be described as a “Lonely Heart Surgeon”, Quinn as a “Passionate Costume Designer” and Mikey as a “Dorky Theater Kid’. These one-sentence starters tell you a lot about who the character is and what kind of person they are. 

Once you’ve got your basic concept you need to build off of that and a very important area is the backstory.  Your character’s backstory should explain why they’re the way you are. For example, maybe a character with abandonment issues was left by a parent in early childhood. Major events leave lasting markers on real people and the same thing should apply to characters. Major positive and negative events should leave an impact on your character. Dramatic backstories can be fun but be careful about overdoing it with tragedy. If your charecter has too many horrible things happen to them it’s going to make it hard to make them believable. Make sure every major trauma event has a reason to have happened and doesn’t just exist for the sake of making things tragic. 

The people your character interacts with are important. Their friends, family, romantic interests, and enemies all need some form of fleshing out. You don’t have to know as much about these characters as you do about your main character but at least know somethings. Have a basic backstory and a personality with more than a few traits. It shouldn’t feel like your character interacting with two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs of people. Your character’s relationships will seem more real when the characters they’re interacting with seem real. Figure out how they handle diffrent types of relationships. How they act around friends and family, what they do when they meet someone new, how they act when they don’t like someone, and any other kind of interaction that might happen. 

Know how your character feels emotions. It’s good to know how a character would react in any kind of emotional situation. When they’re sad what do they do? Do they cry? Do they keep it in? How about anger? Are they short-tempered? Are they hard to get mad? Ask yourself these questions for all sorts of emotions and figure out the answer to how your character would respond. Look back at their backstory and see how you can connect that to how your charecter reacts to certain situations. A character told by their parents that crying is weak would probably be the type to keep in sadness. Be careful with writing an unemotional charecter. They still need to feel things to avoid coming off as flat. 

Know what your characters likes and dislikes, they should have opinions on things. You don’t always need a clear list of things they like and things they don’t. A general idea of the things they tend to like and the things they tend to don’t is good enough. Knowing your character hates loud noise can tell you the kind of things they would avoid. Knowing they like children can help figure out their motivations for the future. 

Flaws and weaknesses are important but I often think they can be figured out when figuring out their strengths and good points. Maybe your character is very friendly and likes having fun. From that, you can come up with a flaw of having trouble focusing on important things and struggling with being serious. Maybe they’re a very dedicated woked but have a had time focusing on relationships and tend to overwork themselves. You can focus on your character’s good points and build flaws from there. 

Appearance isn’t always super important but figure out the basics of how a character looks. Sometimes appearance relates to backstory with things like scars or it can tell you things about who a character is with clothing style. Spend some time on the important aspects of your character’s’ appearance. If something is unsual about it have a reason why.

All these things put together make for a pretty solid character. Even after this there always room for more development. Adding little details just makes characters better even if they’re not super important to the plot. No, you don’t need to know your character’s favorite food or music but it’s not going to cause any problems to know. You can show this by having them eat that food a lot or always be listening to their favorite band. I think the most important thing is that you need to like your character and care about them. If you don’t really feel much for your character it’s going to be hard to make them a good one and it might be better to spend time on the characters you love.

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Mod S2S Mentor

I need to be stopped maybe.

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Comments

  • This is great! I feel like making interesting characters for me is sort of a gamble, they'll either come out derpy or awesome. This might help me be a little more consistent with it {:D
  • Thank you, this is really helpful!
  • This is a lovely blog post, I sometimes struggle with making creative characters and you stated some good tips!
  • This was really helpful, I love creating characters!
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