The Character Series Part 4/5: Creating Believable Characters
STAY WITHIN CHARACTER
Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird was a noble and honorable man. Imagine if you will if you saw him drunk and groping a waitress who was saying no.
I don’t think you would have the same respect for him. I know I wouldn’t. A character, good or bad, needs to stay in the character that you led the reader to believe he or she was unless you have a very good reason for a surprise change. Sure characters have a change of heart in the end, but perhaps there at some point along the way needs to be a glimmer, a hint of something in them.
BALANCE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE
No character is usually completely perfectly good or bad in the aspects of either just morals or perhaps self-control or habits. To make one so is unbelievable.
I have a character in a Romance/Love story I’ve written, a trilogy. He’s the hero type. Almost perfect. But he does have flaws in him that show up if you are paying attention and realize it. The story is told from the viewpoint and voice of the woman. We see and hear what she does, but we interpret what she sees and hears differently. His flaws aren’t exactly negative, but they are to some extent.
PROBLEMS READERS CAN RELATE TO
Playing off the character above, you need to have problems the readers can relate to. The character above is in love with the woman but she’s engaged, and his problem is being in love with a woman younger than he is and trying to be a good man when he really wants so badly to tell her the truth. But he believes if he does then he is a bad man, and he always promised he would be a good man like his father.
I think we have all been in a situation where we like someone that is already spoken for and we can relate to how much that hurts. You instantly want to root for this man.
There are so many things that go into creating a character that it’s really the most difficult part for me. Writing a story, the idea is easy for me. Nailing down all of this is the hard part. But once you do it then things are so much smoother going.
Part 1: Creating Character Names
Part 5: Character Beyond the Internal
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