If I had to chose my favorite part of writing, it would be creating characters.
I wrote a post about characters which you can view if you want. But this is the about the core of the character and how to write a character so they live beside the reader.
For the purpose of this post, we will make our own character.
He will be a tall thin boy named Sammy who enjoys guitar, singing, and music. He wears jeans and concert tees paired with a pair of black Vans. Sammy is soft spoken and doesn’t like being in the spotlight. He doesn’t anger easily and has a lot of patients.
So now that you have the basic outline of who your character is, embellish them. Highlight the good and the bad. Answer character interviews to find out every detail about them. What is their favorite cereal? Where do they spend most of their time?
The most important thing to identify is: What is their biggest fear? When you know what Sammy’s biggest fear is, you can throw problems at him in the novel which connect to his fear. Let’s put Sammy in a few scenarios:
He has finally gathered together enough courage to ask Abigail to prom. He knocks on her door and is already to ask. But just as she opens the door, a giant spider crawls out and sits on his shoe. He is terrified and shakes the spider off, while making a fool of himself. Abigail is horrified and closes the door before he can ask her to go to prom.
Sammy is going to ask Abigail to prom a different way. He is going to sing a song to her asking her to go to prom. During the night, he goes under her window and starts singing. She opens the window but then a swarm of bees come and chase him away.
See, Sammy’s fear of insects is causing problems and pushing him away from his goal, which is going to prom with Abigail.
Bam, a story!
If you’re lacking ideas for scenes, trying making your character face their fears. They might come out triumphant or they might crawl out in tears.
Another way to show characters is the description. Now, this is my really my favorite part of writing. You can make your characters do anything, and look like anything.
I can make my characters do the things I can’t do or look like people I don’t. So that is why Micah is blue hair and skateboards like a pro. Unlike myself who is still learning how to skateboard and has blonde hair.
Abigail was the most beautiful human being on earth. Her hair was a light chestnut color and smelled like freshly baked cookies. Bright blue eyes shone brightly from behind her chunky glasses. Abigail glanced Sammy way for a second and her thin pink lips spread into a small smile. He knew he was smitten from that moment on.
If you are struggling with choosing what your character looks like, I would go on Pinterest and look at character inspiration. Just make sure you don’t dump all the description in one paragraph and then say nothing else throughout the rest of the book.
Also, make Sammy’s appearance parallel with his morals and characteristics. He’s a soft spoken kid with a passion for music.
Any music nerd would have a concert T-shirt. But he wears jeans and black shoes because he doesn’t draw attention to himself and prefers to stay in the shadows. Something ordenary that every teenage wears so eyes skip over him.
If you have a character that has low morals and is the kind of kid your mom warns you about, then make them look like that. No rebel is going to wear a skirt with paw prints and a unicorn T-shirt. They’ll be decked out in black, tight fitting clothing ridden with silver chains and safety pins. Maybe some fishnet tights or combat boots, a tattoo on their shoulder and a dozen piercings.
In order to make your character float off the pages and into the world of the readers, you need to make the character relatable. If there is one thing that makes me put a book down, it is an unrelatable characters or bad language.
When you have characters jumping off 3 story buildings onto the pavement below whilst dodging bullets from snipers and surviving without a scratch, the reader scoff and close the book.
You have to make the characters’ reactions similar to a normal human’s’ emotions are. If Sammy gets hurt while alone, he might shed a few tears before silently crying to himself. It’s what a soft-spoken patient person would do.
If Sammy was a prideful, arrogant, stuck-up, kid, he’d probably force himself not to cry. If he did, then Sammy would beat himself up because of it.
For those who skim read this post:
- Apply your character’s fear to their daily life to make their situation even worse
- Don’t dump all descriptions in one paragraph and then walk away
- Appearances say everything about who your character is
- Everybody hates the unrelatable characters.
That’s everything I have for you today. I hope you all found this post interesting and helpful. Have a great day!