How to create a good character pt 1

15/01/2009 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

There are three types of characters in books. Heroes, villains and other smaller characters that aid the story’s movement in some way. The first trick to creating a good character is to know which one you are writing.

Once you know what you are writing then you can add character traits, speech patterns and physicality’s that mesh into a uniform character.

Let me give you an example:

Say, I want to write a book about a gnome that goes on a quest to see what is on the other side of the forest (this would be my over arching problem, see future posts for more on this).

My gnome is going the be the main character of the story, so let’s make him a hero (the chances that you make a villain the main character is slim, so we will go with the norm for now)

Knowing that he is a hero now allows me to develop his physical appearance. I could either make him fair haired and pretty (a very stereotypical Brad Pitt of the gnome world) or I could make him rather ugly, but endearing.

Let’s make him ugly, it’s a bit more fun. Now we pull out our dusty old dictionary and find words that describe him.

He has a nobly nose, his eyes are too close together and one is larger than the other. His ears are droopy and hang to his shoulders. There is a scar along his neck where his mother tried to strangle him at birth

Note: scars, wounds and other strange physical appearances are great to add some history.

Now that we know what he looks like, let’s examine his personality.

Being ugly probably means that he had a difficult childhood. We already know that his mother tried to strangle him. Was that because he was the most hideous child she had ever seen and thought he was evil or was it because she was crazy? Let’s say that she was crazy and he was ugly, not a great combination. This probably made him have low self confidence in the very least.

So he is a shy, ugly gnome. Now we give him a name. Get a book of baby names, make something up, or give him the name of your great uncle Roach. Ooh, I like Roach.

Roach, the ugly shy gnome will be back for part two of how to create a good character where we discuss character flaws and speech patterns.


Entry filed under: Writing. Tags: , , , , , .

How to sketch out your character pt1

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