Friday, December 23, 2011

How to build a character

This entry is sort of my brother challenging me. And I am woman enough to accept. I will not, however, stop writing my entries on films, series, books I love, and Shakespeare, but I think I will add a small educational touch to my blog.
So, this will be my thoughts on how to build a literary character?

When writing a story it's sometimes hard to get to know your characters...You have an idea for a plot, you have many characters to support that plot, and then you start writing. I have written a few stories in my time, and I have made a few cardinal mistakes.
I wrote a story where one of the principal characters ended up one dimensional and almost parodic. The idea was great to begin with, but this particular story ended up being flat and uninteresting because of the undeveloped characters. But when I was made aware of this fact, it was very easy to fix.

The most important thing in writing any character is that you as the writer know who they are. This is a fact you don't need to spell out to the reader, but when you know your character this will shine through in your writing.

1. What is your character's name?
2. Where does your character come from?
3. Did your character have a happy childhood?
4. If not, what specific happened?
5. Is your character a lovable person?
6. Is your character intelligent?
7. If so, does your character have a speciality (if the answer is yes, then we are entering the world of research...)?
8. Is your character socially developed, or is your character a loner?
9. Obviously age is important, and experience or lack thereof.
10. Wealth or poverty?

These are ten quick points it is great for you to know, and I'm sure you can think of many more yourself. Like I said, it's not important to write every single detail about your character's life, but you really need to know. Make a list on every single principal character you plan on adding to your story, and when you know, the reader will somehow know...a kind of magic link between the reader and the writer occurs.

I'm not saying you can't start writing and figuring this out as you go, but as you have the idea and have started writing, give yourself the little effort it is to define your characters... I promise you that the story will write itself after this!

And when talking about the character's mission or purpose, I think we're closing in on the plot, which will be an entry on its own! Tune in for "Building a character part two, the hero"...coming to a blogspot near you very soon!

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