The Writing Newbie

Writing is an adventure. Enjoy the journey and write the way you love!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Character Building

Every writer wants their characters to be as realistic as possible. When creating a character you need to remember that every person—fiction or not—has both good and bad qualities. Nobody would like a perfect person. Truth is they would be boring.
In a story the characters have things thrown in their way, keeping them from their goal. These are often a combination of external obstacles, often caused by the antagonist, and internal conflicts that keeps the characters from doing what they have to do.
This brings conflict and difficulty that he character has to overcome. Nothing should be easy for the character. This makes the story interesting and makes us care about the character because we’re worried about what’s going to happen to them next and if they’re going to make it.
Making people care about your characters is the most important things that a writer needs to accomplish.

Let me give you an example of some qualities that a character can posses which makes the reader like them, be annoyed by them or even start to dislike them. When you find it difficult to create a character, think about some traits of people you know and how they got them. Here’s what I found:
Whenever I’m ill, hurt or just plain miserable, my brother always manages to make me laugh till I feel I’ll die. This is a great character trait which will make people love him. On the other hand he can brood and ponder about every little thing, which can get annoying. My father never gets angry and always listens to what I have to say, but he’s always too late everywhere.
It’s important to think about why characters have certain traits. For instance I’m incredibly sloppy. I like to think it’s because I’m a creative genius (*cough cough*) but actually it’s because my father used to clean up after me when I was little, so I forget to do it myself now that I’m older.
Characters need to have a flaw. It makes them human (even alien and fantasy characters need flaws or you’re human readers won’t be able to relate to them).

In short: it’s important to remember that characters have both bad and good qualities. They have flaws. And it takes time and situation to develop these traits.
Tips: Once you have a character, place him in different situations and think about how they’ll react. It’s also great to try to interview them, ask them about anything and you’ll really learn your own character. If you’re still having a hard time, study the people around you carefully and steal some traits here and there.

Stay true & keep writing.

Xx Lordkiwii


  1. I love your advice, obviously when you're writing a story that has dark aspects to it, you need your characters to lighten it up a bit. But not everybody is a comedian, so how do you insert those little funny or cute moments to a story without making it sound cheesy or unrealistic?

  2. Also without having the advantage of visually seeing these characters, so how do you explain who they are physically, mentally, and emotionally. I want to be able to allow the readers inside my character's head and understand their intentions and their personality. I've always seem to have an issue with explaining that much depth of a character.

  3. @ fantasy writer:

    What do you mean? How you start your own blog? Or what to write about?