Today we get to touch on a fun topic; this topic has been rolling around in my mind for several months now and I’m excited to get to it! Characters. Now you’re probably smiling and thinking to yourself, “Characters are the most basic parts of the story, what makes them so exciting?” That’s the neat thing. Characters are one of the most basic parts of the story, which is why they are an essential topic to discuss. The characters of a story can either make or break the entire story. So, in this blog I would like to discuss the different aspects of characters.
Think of a person you know that you would love to spend a day with at nearly any time in nearly any place; someone that you like so much that you just can’t seem to get enough of him/her. Now think of someone that you see every day, perhaps you’ve seen this person every day for years now, and you don’t even know that person’s name, or occupation, or ultimately his/her personality. What makes that person so distant from you? Have you ever thought that maybe that person looks at you and thinks the same thing? Now, despite the fact that this may bring up some bad memories, humor me for a second, and think of a person that you just can’t stand. This person seems to drive you crazy every time you see him/her. What is it about that person that doesn’t mesh with your personality? Now finally, think about your grandma, or your mother or father, or sibling. What is it about them that makes them unique? Consider these questions for a moment.
At this time, there are approximately 7.5 billion people on this planet, and yet not two have identical personalities, anywhere. That fact in itself is enough to blow a person away. I think this is excellent proof of a Creator who delights in uniqueness and creativity; and it is upon that thought that I would like to settle. Asthe creator of you
r characters in your story, it is your job, your duty, to create your characters with as much imagination and creativity as you possibly can. Remember all of those people that were brought to your mind a minute ago? Why are they unique? What traits can you draw from their personalities and implement into your characters?
Now, I know you may be thinking, “But Tara, this is fantasy. With fantasy, things aren’t real. They’re made up.” My answer to that statement would be both “yes” and “no.” Yes, fantasy is amazing because you can use your imagination to create things that are
n’t real and have never been thought of before. My answer, however, would also be “no” to that statement. If your characters are too superhuman or too stereotypical, they will no be identifiable to the audience, and therefore, you will have minimal emotional reactions as a result. People feel sympathy or joy or excitement about things that they have experienced or have seen experienced by those close to them; however, they cannot easily identify with something they have never felt. If your characters are nothing like normal people, then normal people will not know how to relate to them. Make your characters relatable. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Make your characters experience normal things: hunger, thirst, exhaustion, bad moods, good moods, even laughing fits!
- Make your characters mess up. Every one of us do, so why shouldn’t your character?
- Perhaps make your characters experience something that you have gone through, whether is be a good experience or a bad experience; you would know exactly how your character would feel in that case because you’ve been there before. Who knows, maybe one of your readers has too.
- Fashion your characters’ personalities off of people that you know. If you write to write an unkind character, think of someone who has been unkind to you. If you want to write a lovable character, think of someone you love. If you want to write an honorable character, think of someone that you have respect for. Implement their trait into your characters!
- Fashion your character’s personalities off of characters already created by another writer. Think through how that character would react to a certain scenario and then make your character do something similar.
These are just a few tips on how to create characters in a story. Remember, characters are the flesh of your story; they are the point you are trying to make through the story in walking and talking form. Don’t tell the readers the idea that you want them to leave with once they’ve set down your story; let your characters tell them. It’s their job.