Creating characters – Part 3

by juliusmsanz

So yesterday I failed my writing quota and only got 3,000 words out, yay me!

But let’s talk about characters instead.

Let’s talk about two things that piss me off: talking heads and characters that are lacking.

First of all I got nothing against the band, Talking Heads are good, but when I read and all I see is: she said, he said, or something along the lines of: we walked nervously. Well… that gets me mad. If you have characters they have to move around. Tell me this: do you stand completely still while you are talking? No. You can crack your knuckles, you can scratch your chin, you can play with your hair, you can even talk while you tie your shoelaces. So why don’t you show it? I’m not saying that you need to do this every damned time, but please, please just have your characters do something.

New writers often make this mistake and forget that between dialogue, characters can show some depth and be original. They can show some interesting quirks and reveal a bit of their personality. Does your character slouch? Does he look people in the eyes or avoids them? They may seem like little things, but it’s all those little things that make your character more real and more appealing to the reader. It’s called adding dimension. And not only that, you can take those chances to develop your skills in showing and not telling. It just seems a bit of a waste really, you have all the opportunities in the world to make something good, and you decide to remain average or below average because you’re not applying yourself to your characters.

It’s not difficult to create an interesting character, and let me tell you this: nobody wants to read about a dull character, but it takes some time and effort to create a great character. You know you have a great character when all of a sudden you see all the little things in your page, when people can understand them and relate to them and see what they went through. Readers that are also writers pay attention to all these little details because they know that everything, and I mean everything, moves the story forward.

Which brings me to my second major dislike: main characters that are just lacking.

What do I mean by this? Plenty of things, too many to tell right now, so let’s stick with psychological development. You know that for every action there is a reaction, right? So why don’t you show us that? Let me give you an example: if somebody snapped at you, how would you react? Be honest with yourself. Know the answer? Good, do the same thing for your character and be consistent. It pains me to see that sometimes writers don’t give an appropriate response to what the character went through. Where’s the trauma? Where’s the anger? Where’s the sadness? Why did it happen, the sadness? Because as an introvert over stress he just did something he never thought we would do, and now he regrets it. Something along those lines. When you write your characters you have to know their responses to these things, you have to know them better than you know yourself, and then you just have to write about it. So when I see that one character just went the wrong way… yeah, you know.

Please be consistent and evolve them slowly.

That is all for now, have a nice day!

See you tomorrow for part 4!