Thursday, April 15, 2010

So many...characters...

After reading through another batch of old stories, I found out something interesting. I have dozens of interesting characters stuck in a story without a plot.

I find it funny how it's very simple for me to make up a new character. I can literally spend an entire day writing character profiles, quotes they might use, their look, their background but do they get in a story? Nope. Well, not all the time.

The old short stories (that at the time I thought were novels...oh how young I was) have introduced an entire new slew of characters, each that would be loved (or hated) by readers. But, no story lines.

Don't get me wrong, the setting descriptions are amazing. But, the plot is so generic it's laughable. I can barely read some of my old work, and not because my handwriting is illegible.

It's just so dull. Hopefully I can breathe life into some of these generic plots or at least steal the characters and put them into something else.

I'm going to finish this off with a few tips for writing a good character:
1) Become your character. There is no better way to describe a person then if you think like them. So, think like the character you want to create. Ask yourself, are they extroverted or introverted? What made them this way? Will they change and how? What are their likes and dislikes? Why don't they like certain things?

2) Stay away from generic looking characters, especially in fantasy. So, you have an amazing personality set out for your new character. Now, you need tell your reader what they look like. Blond hair and blue eyes? Sounds good, but there's so many blond haired, blue eyed people running around. If you do make them look 'average' give them something different. A scar, a tattoo, a certain way of dressing. Don't get me wrong, it's entirely possible to create an average looking character and make them stand out via their personality alone. More difficult, but still doable.

3) Interaction. This kind of ties in with a character's personality. How will this character interact with other characters? How do they speak? Is it very formal or filled with slang? And remember, tie in the way they speak with their personality. A genius character may not use a lot of slang and contractions in their speech pattern. Above all, make them talk as someone with that personality would talk (again, BECOME that character).

4) Be creative. When creating a new character, there are no rules. Who they are is completely up to you. Think of it as walking into a room full of blank wooden dolls and with your writing powers, you have to make them human. Or elf. Or vampire. Or hobbit. Or, whatever it is they are going to be. (Side note: That just gave me the beginnings of an idea).

Now, there may be other things other authors do when writing a character but I find the above works for me. Of course, what works for me, may not work for someone else and the tips are meant to be a general guideline/place to start.

Keep creating. ;)

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