The Character Series Part 5/5: Character Beyond the Internal

The Character Series Part 5/5: Characters Beyond the Internal




You are wondering what a Visual Tag (VT) is. A VT is a visual thing that you identify with the character. It could be a nervous tick such as an eye twitch or a swagger or how they wear their hat a certain way or even how they walk around with their shoes untied with short laces.  The VT gives a distinction to the character and should enhance the connection and description of the character and serve a purpose. For me, the shoelaces would be for a younger person who is perhaps attempting to be cool or unique or trying to fit in with a certain crowd.

Dialogue Tags are things most writers now about, but don’t often consider being character related.  We think of them as he said or she said. But there are affectations a character may have that you can mention, or how they whistle on certain letters or cannot pronounce certain words or letters properly. Once established you don’t overuse the tag any longer.



Dialogue is the key to your characters and often times the accepting or rejecting of your novel to be signed. I’ll get into Dialogue in another series because it is such a large subject but how one speaks externally and internally tells you everything you need to know about a character. Dialogue tends to be my stronger point, or so I believe, while I need to focus on a lot of the external and sensory things. Dialogue cannot be the book but it is a huge part of the book.


Body Language is something we forget about. The tension in how someone holds their shoulders drawn up so tight that they almost reach their ears.



What is another way to know a character? You need to see them in action. Seeing them react in certain situations and those reactions staying within character you have created. It’s an interesting thought but think of someone like Mr. T as B.A. on A-Team. Quiet for the most part, but his actions said enough. A tough guy with a heart. You didn’t really need any words. And it isn’t just action heroes this works with. You need to have the tender moments shown by the characters as well. Even a man on the witness stand at a murder trial has action.

Part 1: Creating Character Names

Part 2: What to Avoid when Creating Character

Part 3: Giving Your Characters Their Character

Part 4: Creating Believable Characters


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The Character Series Part 4/5: Creating Believable Characters

The Character Series Part 4/5: Creating Believable Characters



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.



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.



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 2: Things to Avoid when Creating Characters

Part 3: Giving Your Characters Their Character

Part 5: Character Beyond the Internal


 2014 © Copyright-All rights