I would like to welcome back Katherine Smithson to NAG today. Today’s post is more for aspiring writers in how to to create your first character, but for experienced authors it will remind us about part of the fun of being an author! Enjoy!
Giving birth is not just about natural birth. Sometimes, it’s also about giving life to a story’s hero.
Creating a character for a novel or even for a short story is like conceiving and giving life to a new being. You need to mold it into another person who is complete in the physical, mental, social, spiritual, and emotional departments. It’s basically like role playing as a kid, plus all the personality and even the back story of your character.
So if you’re thinking about writing a story and creating some characters for the very first time, these tips might help you make the process of materializing one easier and better.
Start from the Inside Out
It’s always easier to start on the physical aspects of your character. Blonde, long hair, with curly eye lashes and blue, sparkling eyes. But like in real life, what defines a person is always the most important thing and the best aspect to begin with. Ask yourself, what one or two adjective/s would you want to describe the character you want to conceive? According to the story you’ve made up in your mind, what kind of person would best suit your protagonist. Start from there and everything else will follow.
Get Ready to Give Birth
Like what I said earlier, giving birth is not just about any natural birth. It’s also about giving life and character to a new person inside a book. Like any parent, you have to prepare yourself to take good care of this character and give justice to his/her/its life and his/her/its story. Prepare yourself on becoming a “parent” because you’re going to adore, hate and even at times be disappointed with the character you’ve made out of him/her/it. Keep in mind that just like in the matter of parenting, pouring your love and heart, like when writing your best essays, to your characters is the very foundation, as well as your sheer connection to your readers.
Give Him/Her/It a Piece of Yourself
Share some of your physical traits, habits, or personality to your character. It’s important to leave a personal mark on your characters, especially to your protagonist to give the readers a sense of your own being as a writer and to give the feel that you are the creator and the “parent” of that character.
But Remember that He/She/It is a Completely Different and Unique Individual
Every story character has its own individuality. No matter how closely you can relate to the story or the character’s experiences and personality, remember to give him/her/it the liberty to become someone else other than you. Let him/her/it be who she/he/it really is. It’s bascially the same thing as when your mom and dad gave you the freedom to discover your own self and make your own decisions and adventures.
Don’t Forget About the Back Story
Albus Dumbledore was a muggle-hater, Severus Snape was Lily Potter’s secret lover, Katniss Everdeen hunts “illegally” outside the fences because his father taught her so, Dauntless’ Four is Tobias Eaton — the son of an Abnegation leader, Marcus Eaton.
Back stories play a very crucial role when it comes to character building. It can define them as a person and justify their present and future decisions. It can also dictate the journey of the character and the outcome of the story’s ending.
His/Her/Its Choices Depends on His/Her/Its Character, Not Yours
Again, the characters that you will make have their own lives to live and own situations to deal with. Although you are the writer and you have the control over their decision-making schemes, you would give more justice and individuality to your characters if you would allow them to decide for themselves. Put yourself into their shoes and think like them. In that story’s world or time frame, they are basically uniquely living and breathing individuals who deal with their own situations like you do every single day.
The beauty of of character creation and building lies in the differences and uniqueness of your characters. So when you write a story and mold characters for it, don’t just play Sims — give life instead. Share your character building thoughts and experiences below.