HOW TO CREATE WINNING CHARACTERS FOR YOUR NOVEL
Your characters are the mainstay of your novel. They are the bedrock. Without compelling and interesting characters, your novel is dead even before you begin writing. That is how important your characters are.
A character breathes life into a story; the complexities, the dynamism, the personality traits, the admirable or non-admirable qualities, these all work together to create a compelling and lovable character.
We have different types of characters just as you have in movies. You have:
- The main character (this is who your story revolves around. Your main character might be more than one)
- The supporting characters (as the name implies, they are there to support your main character. They could be round, flat, dynamic, static, etc)
Now, we’ve established how important your character (s) is, how then do you create a winning/relatable character?
I have some steps here to guide you through the process:
What does your character look like? Tall, dark and handsome or a plain Joe? A drop dead gorgeous woman or a motherly woman? By the way, your characters are permitted to look ugly. Every character must not be Miss World, everyday people are not like that and the goal is to create a character every of your reader will feel some affinity with.
What is the character of your character? What makes him/her tick? What character defects does he/she have? Is he too self-centered? Is she too demanding? Nobody on earth is perfect so make sure your character isn’t too.
This is where your supporting characters come in. what type of relationships would your main character keep? Who are her friends, family, co-workers, and lovers? Who are his buddies, colleagues, or siblings? What type of friends does your character keep? Is your character a very social person? An extrovert or an introvert? Define your characters by the company they keep.
A person’s history goes a long way in defining who the person will become. A character from a very rich background is likely to have a healthy respect for money and how it is spent. A character that has been to jail is more likely to distrust people. An orphan will likely have the innate fear of getting close to people. These are generalities, they are by no means absolute. A reader will love to know the background of your character.
How does your character communicate? Our personality to a large extent can be determined by the way we talk. What kind of words does your character use to express himself? Does she favor colorful words? Does she have distinctive words in her vocabulary? What is her style of speech? How about the sound of his voice; deep and commanding or soft spoken? Make sure your character’s communication style is distinctive and unique.
It goes without saying that your character has to be relatable. I mean, we all love Superman, but how many people in life are born with superhuman strength? We love Edward Cullen in Twilight, but we have no idea what/how a vampire should be. Granted, you are writing fiction, but as much as possible, you need to infect a dose of ‘relatability’ in your characters. Let them feel like every day humans so the average Joe or Sally out there can see a piece of them in your character. Hence, they will find it easy to fall in love with your character.
Develop your character in such a way that your readers can empathize with him/her. What physical/mental weakness must your character overcome? The goal is to make your readers feel something for your character. The more they empathize, the more they relate with your character, and the more your character is loved, which is the goal.
What are the inner workings of your character’s mind like? How does he/she think through a problem that has to be resolved? Is her internal thoughts different from what she says or do? Does this create conflict in her everyday life? You can make this as complicated as you want to bring another form of dynamism to your character’s traits.
Goals and dreams
What goals does your character want to achieve in your story? What is his passion in life? A person’s ambition usually goes a long way in determining his actions and informing his decisions in life. Do well to explore that option very well.
With these points, you can go on to develop an all-round ad very interesting character that any reader can fall in love with.
That is the goal – if your readers do not love your characters, then that story is going nowhere. Take time to develop your character and you will be glad you did so.
To read the post where I wrote about writing a captivating book, please click HERE