Are you a fiction writer?
We all know creating a story and characters is not easy.
And it can be hard to know where to start sometimes. Especially if you’re a beginner.
There are many different methods and ways of building characters.
Here is one simplified approach you can use to start building your characters. These are some of the same principles actors use when creating their characters.
How do your characters feel about each other?
It’s not enough to just say that the other character is the wife, husband, brother, sister, daughter, son, father, lover, friend, mother, etc.
You must determine how each character feels about the other characters.
The other character may very well be the mother, father, friend, etc. But that does not tell us about the relationship the characters have with each other.
What is important is to determine how the characters feel toward each other. This will tell you a lot about their relationship.
How each character feels about the other characters in the story will determine how each character will behave with each of the other characters in the story.
It will determine what they say and how they say it when interacting with that other character.
This is true for all of the characters in your story or novel.
For example, a character will not talk and behave the same way with their lover as they would with their parent or child.
Your story must have conflict.
It goes without saying.
Conflict is at the heart of any story.
Conflict is what creates drama and makes your story interesting.
Without conflict of course, you wouldn’t have a story to begin with.
What does your main character want? And what is in the way of them getting what they want?
All of the characters in the story must want something of course. But the main character should be the focus.
Conflict is what will keep the story going. And the stakes should be very high.
How do the characters go about getting what they want? Make it interesting.
Make your characters choices as active as possible.
Even if your character is just thinking, you can make this active.
For example, don’t just say ‘Joe was thinking.’
Show us how Joe was thinking.
Perhaps he is wrestling with a difficult decision. Maybe he is tapping his fingers on his head, or tapping a pencil on the desk.
#3 What Happened Before?
What were your characters doing before the beginning of your novel or story?
In acting this is know as ‘the moment before’.
An actor knows what his character was doing right before the scene starts.
The character does not just suddenly come to life when the actor walks on stage.
The actor knows what their character was doing right before the scene started. That is what brought them to this point when they step on the stage.
It’s the same with the characters in your novel.
What were they doing before the novel begins?
The characters don’t just start existing with the first chapter.
Your characters had a life before your first chapter begins.
What were your characters doing before your novel begins? What brought them to this point?
You can even write out what happened before you begin your novel.
Even though you do not put this in your novel it is important for you, the author to know what your characters were doing before the novel begins.
This will give your characters a background. And you will know where your characters are coming from when you begin your novel.
How do you go about building characters in your fiction writing? Any tips or idea’s you can share with us? Let us know in the comments below.