While reading a writing sample by an aspiring writer, I noticed something that I’d like to share. It was clear this writer hadn’t taken the time to get to know her characters very well. When formulating your characters you need to know them better than you know the person you are closest to in life, a partner, spouse, child, etc. Easy right? Not necessarily. If you haven’t given enough time to getting to know your character, your reader will notice.
Building a character profile is only half the battle. Once you do that, you have to refer to it. Not only for physical characteristics, but personality characteristics as well. Here are a few tips to keep you true to your characters:
- If you give them a “quirk”, be consistent with it. If they are jumpy, don’t mention steady hands
- Avoid cliches and stereotypes. Keep your characters unique
- Think about each scene and analyze how the personality characteristics you gave your character come into play. For example, if the character is meek, they’d run rather than fight when confronted by a threat
- Apply a character’s personality traits to their dialogue. A lawyer raised in privilege will speak differently from a seventy-year-old with a third grade education
- As your hero or heroine develops throughout your story be sure to keep those growth characteristics throughout the rest of the story. A near death experience will change the way a person behaves.
- Avoid flat characters. Give them a reason to change.
That’s probably enough to digest for now. Scroll through my other blog entries for more writing tips.
Good luck to all you NANOWRIMO writers. I wish you the best.