One thing many can agree on is that every story differs from the next in some way. Yet one thing unites them all. This very simple and complex piece is the story’s characters. Without them there is no story. With them, the story is everything we desire it to be. The essential question becomes, how do we make these characters into who we want them to be? And in turn, we release the pen and allow them to tell our narrative based on the life we created for them.
And characterization can be as difficult as outlining the plot or painting the character’s physical setting because these details in themselves help develop your character. Here at Syllble, we like to give quick tidbits of knowledge that you can take with you on any writing journey wherever you are. Consider these pointers when forming your next character for your next masterpiece!
Tip 1: Define your character’s physical spaces.
Every character needs its own space to exist, and because physical spaces are only primary settings and locations, your character can virtually exist anywhere, somewhere, or even nowhere. It could be a small country neighborhood situated in Central Florida, or a village in Africa. This will set the stage for your character while helping define him, her, them, etc.
Tip 2: Define your character’s purpose or goal
Determine if the character is male, female, or otherwise, remember that all characters are not always human. Are they the story’s protagonist or antagonist? How your character deals with the inevitable obstacles that stand between them and their aims will help most clearly define them.
Tip 3: Think Creatively.
You’ll want to consider a few things here. Add specific characteristics that help your audience feel different ways about your character: love, pity, revulsion, compassion, or nothing at all. And once your characteristics are solidified, you can add their fears, weaknesses, motivations, and biggest secrets. It creates a more realistic character and develops your character’s archetype. Take mannerisms and features from people around you; note physical features like eyes, the shapes of noses, jaws and ears, and even body shapes and combine them
Tip 4: Give your character quirks, and attitude.
To bring your character alive, give them a personality that goes beyond the story itself. A character’s attitude is made of complementary traits many times. For example, a character may love freedom and dislike authority, or lives a flashy lifestyle and does not respect frugality. These are sometimes unexpected and cause the audience to rethink this character. And that is okay!
Quirks can be good and bad habits, or just things the character cannot stop without discipline or counseling. They can be minor (like fingernail biting) or major (like a drug addiction); either way the more or less tics and traits you give your character, the more they will come alive for your audience.
Now that you have a clear outline of how to raise your character from the pages of your stories, try these few things when crafting your character in your creative space:
- Make a mind map of all you talked about, and all you decided about your character.
- If you have the time, role play as your character to uncover things that you didn’t know about your character to help continuously develop their personality.
- Make a list of likes and dislikes based on their attitude but be sure the list is well-balanced.
The time to start is now. If this article was enjoyable and useful for you, share it for another writer to see!
What are your best tips for creating your perfect character?
Community Manager + Contributer
Fabrice Guerrier is an Haitian American entrepreneur and author. He believes large numbers of people working cooperatively over the internet to create stories is the future of original content and the creative economy. He founded Syllble Studios startup to bring something new to the publishing and entertainment space and support creative writers from all over the world to hack their fullest creative potential. Fabrice is a first generation immigrant born in Haiti. He moved to the U.S. at the age of 13. Fabrice speaks French, Haitian Creole and English.