"Don't let yourself slip and get any perfect characters... keep them people, people, people, and don't let them get to be symbols."
~ Ernest Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway on Writing
Importance of characters:
You can't have a story without characters. Readers always remember the book by the characters they got attached to.
A character can make or break your story. If a plot is the skeleton then the characters represent the heart or a core. They are a fun part but also a difficult task.
The readers should be able to relate to them and they should be interesting enough to engage readers.
Keep in mind that booklovers really don't like too perfect character. Such characters feel unrealistic, or out of the life. If your main character has great eyes, hair, lips, body; she is not going to score brownie points with your readers. Why? Because, in real life, people are not faultless. Everybody has some flaws. And those imperfections make readers fall in love with your character because they can connect with it.
I am not telling you not to write that character of your imagination or dream. Portray it by all means but do make them human with a bit of imperfection here and there. For example, in my book In Honour of the heart, my character Isabelle is slim enough but she is worried that after 30s, she has started to put on weight and she will have to think about taking some exercise. Her hair is beautiful but it is losing its shine. This was about her physical characteristics. But emotionally, she is very gentle and caring. She easily trusts people and thinks everyone in the world is like her. Later on, she realizes that life is not fair all the times and this makes her stronger, wiser.
So it's about her journey from weakness to strength.
Readers like to care, to believe in what a story's characters can accomplish.
You must have noticed often that the protagonist goes through a lot. As a writer, I don't show mercy on my main character. When later that character rises up powerfully and wins the battles, readers cheer for them.
What happened when I had written few of my chapters?
After my third chapter was posted, someone drew my attention (it was quite embarrassing) that my character had blond hair in the first chapter and it turned some other shade in the third chapter. My reader wanted to know if she had colored her hair.
Many times we forget about the attributes, we have given to our characters, so in order to avoid it, this is what you have to do. Create a character profile for each of your main characters. File them and always keep it handy while writing.
Go, take out a pen and paper and write this.
Character's real name:
Other names (nick names or what they might be called by other characters fondly):
Place of birth:
Mother, father, sibling's name (if your story has them):
Children (if any):
Outlook at life:
Dreams (recurring if any):
Most cherished memory:
Favorites (color, season, food, animal, song, book etc.):
Occupation or skills:
I can add many things to this list but I hope that this gave you the crucial idea.
If you have categorized your characters this way on paper, afterward portraying them consistently will be easy. With help of these pointers, you will be also able to generate different characters so that they all won't look same as well as won't behave in the identical manner.
"When asked, "How do you write?" I invariably answer, "One word at a time," and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That's all. One stone at a time. But I've read you can see that wall from the space without a telescope.
~ Stephen King.
I have written this chapter because I had received a query about how to form characters.
This is just a basic guideline. Do let me know if you have any queries. Please comment here, write on my wall or send me a personal message to let me know what doubts you have. I am here to help those who really want to write.
Have a good day.
YOU ARE READING
Why do we write? I write because words drive me crazy if I don’t. At times, I am physically compelled to grab a pen and jot down my thoughts on paper. I write because it allows me to express my thoughts in a skilful way. I write to be the characters...