Hello everyone! I haven’t done a writing-related post in a while (which is what I intended my blog to be all about) so I thought I’d write about one of my favorite topics: Characters.
Your characters are the most important part of your story. Forget the plot, the world and the problems for a moment. The people (or whatever other creatures your book focuses on) are the elements in your writing that keep the readers turning pages. Characters give life to the story, they’re responsible for the progression of the plot, and they’re what connect your readers to your writing.
The thing that a lot of writers have trouble realizing is that characters need to be much deeper than we make them. Maybe your main character is a girl named Aubrey with red hair and blue eyes, and she doesn’t know where she fits into the world she was born in.
Okay, that’s a start. Now it’s time to add complexity. We all know that humans are naturally complex creatures, both physically and mentally. Your characters should be as realistic as possible. You want your readers to connect with the characters. After all, they’re going on the journey along with them. So how do you do that?
There are a lot of ways to add complexity. Characters often mirror their creators, which can help add depth to their personalities. Looking at the little things that define someone can help you see who they truly are. To get some ideas, answer these questions about yourself.
- How do you act in an emergency?
A. You stay calm and keep everyone from panicking. If you stay in control of your emotions, you also have better control of the situation.
B. You can’t help being anxious, but try your hardest to keep your emotions in check.
C. You need to be calmed down by someone else. Your emotions control you more than you control them.
2. When you’re trying to fall asleep at night…
A. You’re out the second your head hits the pillow.
B. It’s hard to turn off your mind. You try to keep yourself from thinking about the things you did today and/or the things your plans for the rest of the week, and eventually, you fall asleep.
C. Your head is full of thoughts that you can’t push away, so you don’t try. You think about all that’s on your mind until you slip into unconsciousness.
3. Do you dream? If so, about what?
A. No. One moment it’s night and the next it’s morning. It’s almost like I flip a switch and skip ahead until it’s time to wake up.
B. I dream sometimes, usually when I’m anxious about something.
C. I dream every night. My dreams are weird twists on reality, strange and sometimes nightmarish.
Here are some more questions you can ask yourself, either about you or your characters:
. What do you focus on when you’re walking down the street? Traffic? Other people? Nature? Your schedule for the day?
. What do you do when you see a spider? Do you squash it underfoot without another thought? Bring it outside? Leave it alone?
. It’s Saturday and you have nothing on the agenda. You have your house to yourself and a million things you can do. What do you do first? Something productive? Relax? Invite some people over?
This is part one of Developing a Complex Character. I would write part two right now, but I just received a package in the mail that I’ve been really excited about.
I hope this was helpful! Until next time,