Characters. They’re what really keep people invested in a story… most of the time. While characters are probably one of the funnest parts of writing a novel, they also can be the most criticized parts of a novel.
Personally, I know that sloppily written characters irk me more than a sloppily written plot. There have been books that I would have generally rated 5 stars, but instead gave 4 stars because I had issues with the characters. Which maybe isn’t fair. But as a reader, characters are such an important part of the reading experience to me and they can either make or break a story.
But how do you write good, fleshed out characters? Good question. I won’t pretend to be a master of writing good characters… but I’ve been told that my characters are usually pretty well-written so let’s see what advice I can give.
- Try forming a character profile. This can be a really time consuming task. I know. I can take hours forming a profile for one character. Usually, I find that it’s worth it. Usually. Here, here’s a link to a character profile template that you can fill out online and then you’re done. Believe me, it helps. And it can even be fun. http://www.panix.com/~felicia/character/character.php.
- Base your characters off of real people in your life. Personally, this is something that I do without even thinking about it. If I need a funny character, I immediately start writing them almost as if they were a embodiment of one of my funniest friends.
- Talk to people. If you have some writing friends, talk to them about their techniques! Maybe they have ideas that they’re willing to share. Believe me, writing friends are the best.