Okay Doc. Crack those knuckles and tell me how the character’s roots affect their psyche. Here are some questions to consider:
Is your character aware of their flaws? Do they care?
Are they a pushover or proactive?
What is their general outlook on life? Are they a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person?
Do they have an active imagination?
Would they be considered an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
Are they lazy or ambitious?
Do their morals align more with good or bad?
Are they easily frustrated, or laid back and relaxed?
These are questions I feel you should answer TWICE. First, answer how the character would answer. Then think about how other characters would answer ABOUT them. Sometimes, how we see ourselves is different from how others would see us. If the answers are different, ask yourself why.
Sociological and economic background.
This one has the potential to be a laundry list of detail. Grab a handful (if not all) the following questions, and see what you can come up with.
What was their childhood home like? Did they grow up wealthy or low income?
How big was their family? Are they close with everyone, a select few, or no one at all?
How involved were their parents? Was this by choice, or by circumstance (i.e. were they busy working, did they make time, etc.)?
Were they a good or bad student? Did they care? Why?
Does the character believe in marriage, and do their parents affect this view? Were they married or divorced in the character’s childhood?
Are they religious? If so, what religion? If not, why?
Are/were they involved in their community?
What were their hobbies?
Don’t forget to comment below with your answers!
The death of a novel starts when you take aside two paragraphs to describe what your protagonist looks like. It’s perfectly fine to imagine them, and it’s definitely encouraged to let your reader know – just not all at once. Pepper in those details little by little, and let your reader build the character themselves.
Appearance can matter when building your character – but not in the ways you expect. When describing them today, consider how their appearance matters (or doesn’t) to them. Not you. THEM.
Does their appearance affect their self-esteem? Do they dress for themselves or to appease others? Do they give a damn what other people think?
How would they feel if they were forced to dress the opposite of how they normally would? Talk about how they carry themselves. Do they have good posture or do they slouch too much? Are they neat and tidy, or would they show up somewhere in their pajama pants?
Remember that these choices are theirs, and figure out why they decide these things.
Don’t forget to comment below, and talk about your character!
Developing your characters is the most important process for writing a successful story. I’ve definitely said this before, but if readers can’t care about your characters, they won’t care about your novel.
Throughout this month, you can comment your thoughts below each post, answering the question/prompt of the day! Let’s create engaging characters together.
What is your main character’s goal? Make your story as clear as possible. Your reader needs to know what they’re rooting for. Without a goal, the plot is aimless.
What do your other characters (yes, including the antagonist) hope to achieve? While the main character is – obviously – the main narrator of the story, everyone should have a want or need. Knowing what all the characters want can help you come up with plot points to add conflict, and provide obstacles to throw your protagonist off course.