One of the things that can make or break a book, is the main character. Can you imagine if you read the first few pages of a new novel and you completely hated the main character OR worse felt absolutely nothing for them? I’ve actually come across this, while trying to find other series to read. And I’m always disappointed because I just want to find another book to read and enjoy.
As I start creating my main characters I always contemplate, what exactly would help my audience love or dislike them? I always want my readers to love my character(s) as much as I do. Why? Because I have lived and breathed my character and worked really hard on them. I want the readers to resonate with him/her and to find them relatable.
To help me create my characters I actually create a list. I write out physical characteristics like: height, weight, body type, hair/eye color. I make notes on this because one, it’ll help me keep track of what I’ve said in the past, but also so I can visualize them in my head as I write. I also like to write out their certain parts of their personality and what sets them off. This helps me be consistent throughout the story so as conflict is created my characters act true to themselves.
I can’t draw… at least not yet. But one of my friends is an artist. And when she creates her characters she actually draws them out. She told me it helps her see the characters (obviously), but they come alive for her that way. I’ve seen a few of her drawings regarding some of her characters many of whom I’ve actually read about and after I visually saw them, a light bulb went off in my head. I was like oh, now certain things about your character makes sense. If I could, I’d draw my characters out too, but that is not a skill I have at the moment. But you may want to give it a shot.
Voice is extremely important when writing a character. How would they talk? I have one character that I love writing with and she is very sassy and hilarious. I call her my alter ego because she can say things that I know I could never get away with. But I have to make sure that some of the things that she says really conveys who she is and that she doesn’t start to sound like one of my other main characters. Each character should have a voice. I try to have one character be a dreamer, while another one will be the voice of reason. Why? Because in life we typically have people that do that for us.
And there is one another aspect of writing characters that I am still trying to get a handle on. That is the slow reveal of the characters. This is so hard for me to do because I want everyone to know my character the way I know them. But that would mean that I just word vomit all over the place and not really show what is going on with my main and secondary characters, which can really take away from the experience. I am still learning that while writing a story, it’s a marathon not a sprint. You have to pace yourself. And that is an important concept to remember.
But enough about me. What do you do to help reveal your characters to your readers?
I’d love to know, so please comment below.