Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for ... Character

Undoubtedly one of the most important elements of any fiction writing is creating characters, both the main and the secondary (supporting) characters. Storyline will only take a reader so far. If the characters are not fully and completely developed, the reader will do what all authors DON'T want them to do - put down the book and never pick it back up again.

Here are a few quick examples of how to develop a character:
  • Create a character study which includes simple to complex information about the character. Examples are: name, age, gender, location (where do they live), likes/dislikes, occupation, fears, family members, friends, extra-curricular activities, biggest desire in life (or story), quirky behaviors, etc.
  • Description of a character will only get a reluctant reader so far. Through dialogue and action, characters can reveal much about themselves. Take for instance Willy Wonka. Could you imagine his character as a stuffy, old professor? The story would have been so different if he hadn't had those crazy conversations, ideas, and mannerisms.
  • Relationships with other characters show a lot about the main character. A good main character doesn't leave his best friend behind when there's trouble. Or perhaps, the two characters weren't really all that good of friends if either of them rats on the other to the principal.
 Who are your favorite characters either from childhood or now?