Hi, ya’ll! You’re in for a big treat. My best friend Artful Author, has written a guest post. ArtfulAuthor is an amazing, talented writer, a Nanowrimo winner, and fellow blogger. She has wonderful insight to making strong characters, and that is what this post is about. Enjoy!
Someone once told me: “Premise is what makes me pick up the book and start reading. Plot is what makes me continue reading. But the characters are the ones that make me pick up the book and read it over again.” You could have an awesome plot complete with unicorns, a thieving dragon, high-tech computers, and coffee, but if you don’t have in depth characters, no one is going to care. I wrote a little about this here. 55+ Questions for Plotting Out Your Characters
Characters are strange creatures. They always want something! They want to conquer the dragon, rescue the princess, promote peace, or make a free coffee day. However, all that falls under the plot, not the character. Something may motivate the character, like the dragon killing their village, but conquering the dragon isn’t the character. It’s the plot. To create strong characters, you need to focus on them, not what their goal is. In other words, how is the character going to grow while killing the dragon? What will he learn? What will she become?
Creating Strong Characters
To create strong characters, one good way is to place a weakness of your own in the character. The seven deadly sins are also good. Write what you know, right? Pride, anxiety, jealousy, anger, sadness… Insert that into a character and show how he or she overcomes that throughout the story. He may have to get over a fear of being defeated to kill the dragon. She may have to swallow her pride in order to accomplish what’s right. All good characters have flaws. The story should focus on their flaws, and how they overcome them.
Another good way to create strong characters is to give them a motivation. This can tie strongly to the rising action of your story. His mentor dies (cliché) and he is alone on his journey. Revenge is also a very powerful motivator which especially works well for the villain. Love and proving their worth are strong motivators for strong characters.
A word of caution: not all your characters should be strong. Your main characters, your villain, and maybe a mentor should be 3D, but your supporting characters should be 2D. We’re not focusing on them. You don’t want them to steal the show. To many details makes the story become murky, and that’s the last thing you want to do.
I hope you enjoyed this guest post! To see more awesome stuff by the ArtfulAuthor Please Check out and Follow her blog!! The Blog of the ArtfulAuthor: The Artful Author: Artsy and Wordy