Monday, August 30, 2010

A-Z: Characters 1

CHARACTER, Part 1: Making your characters 3-D
    Good writing is about making your characters come alive. Stop and think of your favorite novel. What was so good about it? Maybe it was the plot, the setting, or the ending that really stands out in your memory. No matter what you list, you most likely also said, “Great characters.” But what makes a character great?  It’s a lot of little things:
1. Avoid stereotypes - come on, can it get more boring than that?
2. Avoid “inverted stereotypes” - which is when you take a typical stereotype from #1 and make your character the mirror opposite. Like no one saw that one coming.
3. Don’t feel you have to like all of your characters. When you push the edge, the most interesting things happen.
4. Give your characters conflicts. If life is smooth-sailing all day, every day, for your characters, why exactly are you telling this story and why should the reader care?
5. Give your characters a unique trait that makes them memorable to the reader. Take examples from people around you. What idiosyncrasies make your sister, your ex-best friend, your boss complex and interesting? Can you use it for your character? 
6. Finally, always think of your character as a real person. Let him go and see where he story takes him.