Author of Pimp My Site, Paula Wynne, says the best perk of her job as editor or iHubbub’s home business magazine is reviewing a smorgasbord of books, including a wide variety of writing reference guides on the art of writing fiction and creating fictional characters.
Here Paula shares three top tips she has gleaned from years of reading how to create real people in your novel (while she tries to find time to write her own).
Creating Your Master Characters
As you start creating people for your novel, there will be millions of questions mulling around your mind when that new character first pops into your head and although you are creating a fictional character, in essence you start creating their life. You’ll need to find an archetype or master type character you can use as your skeleton and then slowly start ‘meating’ them up with all the details that will eventually make them real.
Like humans, fictional characters need to have positive traits and negative flaws. Give your fictional character positive strengths that will help them achieve the story goal, but be mean and be sure to give them weaknesses that will allow the villain to trip them up enough times to make your reader keep turning the pages. Read my blog’s topic on creating fictional characters to find some excellent books that will guide you to making your story people jump off the pages.
Ask Your Character Why
In giving your character these good and bad parts to their personality you can establish why they do the things they do. What motivates them? This is what drives your story forward, not the plot point itself. A character doesn’t decide to go into a burning building to save someone or stalk and kill someone because that is what your plot point says he should do – he does this because it is in his nature to do so. Something in their past happened to make them who they are today, just like us human beings. This forces you [as the writer] to delve deeper into your characters and see them as a type of person who responds in a very specific way to the conflict in your story.
Build Believable Emotion In Your Characters
When you imagine who they are and how they look, it is strongly advised by all the top writing tutors to keep a template and there are loads that can be downloaded with a quick Google search. Apart from knowing what they look like, how they talk, where they live and what their background is, it is also vital to know their emotional triggers.
Readers engage with your characters and thus your story on an emotional level. They see the story through the eyes of the Point of View [POV] character, so if that person is angry or filled with hatred for a certain reason [most often from that event in their past], your reader will get to understand them better, whether are the heroine or villain. Top writing tutors and authors of the best writing guides that teach you how to write great fiction all advocate that the more electric emotion we can use to drive our character and story forward, the more chance your readers will be up all night turning the pages, unable to stop engaging with your character.
When you’re creating those fictional characters your mind will be humming, like a bumblebee around lavender in bloom. Make notes in your template or character profile of all the little notions that your character starts feeding you because these gems are what you’ll use to weave throughout your plot to show your characters growth and how they outwit the bad guy.
Paula Wynne is author of Create A Successful Website and Pimp My Site. Paula is also co-founder of the award-winning iHubbub.com, a free online shop for freelancers, authors and home business entrepreneurs to sell their products or services online. As an aspiring novelist, Paula admits to being obsessive about learning how to write great fiction. Find out more at http://www.paulawynne.com