Monday, March 28, 2011

Write Believable Characters

In real life each of us has something unique and different from others, unless you’re a twin. This is known as a character trait, and your protagonist and antagonist should also have their own personality traits to make them believable to readers.

A character can and should have an attitude to differentiate them from other secondary characters. Their attitudes reflect on their mannerisms--their actions and reactions to situations around them. Can you imagine how boring Harry Potter  would be if all of the characters wore glasses, had Voldemort  chase after them, or if all lived with an irritating aunt and uncle? 

How do you build unique and different characters? By sketching a profile for them. Some things to consider adding are:

• His appearance – hair, eyes, height, weight, beard, moustache, noticeable scars, etc.
• Who are his parents and family background – divorced parents, happy childhood, abused situation, raised by single mom/dad, etc
• His goals, likes and dislikes – wants to advance in his job, hates bossy females, loves children, etc.
• Where does he live? – apartment, condo, home, shed, forest, etc.
• What does he drive? – takes the bus, rides a jalopy, BMW, etc.
The biggest questions to ask yourself before you even begin writing his story are:
• What is his obstacle he’ll need to overcome by the end of the book.
• Who is standing in his way?
• How will he achieve this goal?
• Will he achieve this goal?
• How will he change by the end of the book?

This short profile will help you understand him on a deeper level in order to portray him as a three-dimensional character.

Once your book is done (or even before), then comes the marketing. But that's another post coming your way.

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