Best Writing Tips for Character Building (MUST READ)

Let's go over some important writing tips for character building.

Best Writing Tips for Character Building

From Bentinho and Capitu to Harry Potter, there is no shortage of well-known and instantly recognizable characters in the world of literature. It is quite common for a writer to ask himself what were the "formulas" used in creating such remarkable characters. This is because it is common for writers to want to emulate the success of other writers.

However, each author's character creation process is unique, you need to figure out what works best for you rather than relying on a "formula" developed by someone else. This is because following someone else's "formula" is likely to result in your doing everything on autopilot, which isn't conducive to developing distinctive characters.

On the other hand, understanding some of the theories and techniques of creative writing can help you discover your unique approach to developing characters within your narratives.

What is the Importance of Good Characters

Keep in mind that no matter how strong the story's plot is, if the characters are not well constructed, the story might not be invested enough in your Hero. This is one of the biggest reasons readers give up on a story.

How many times have you been reading a book and decided to put it down because one of the characters was intolerable or the pace of the narration was too fast?

The main character is not only the one who goes through an experience or situation in the story, but he is also the vessel who takes the reader through the narrative. This is especially true if the story is told in the first person.

As the reader, you will experience everything as if you were looking through his eyes; you will read about his emotions, thoughts, actions, and reactions. For this reason, it is essential to inspire empathy, ultimately forming a connection between the reader and the character.

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How To Make Empathic Characters

The ability to understand another person's perspective and put yourself in that person's shoes is essential to empathy. This ability typically develops as a result of our shared experiences and perspectives.

It could be something traumatic that happened to us, an experience, or even the fact that we are human and live in the same environment.

As a result, you need to devise characters who appear to the reader to be genuine individuals living in the world today. To accomplish this, you can focus on some aspects such as:

WHO IS YOUR CHARACTER?

Even if the past does not play a role in the narrative, you need to understand what he went through and why he is the way he is today, which is to say, it is essential for you to define his life story accurately. You must know your character very well, from childhood until now. Find out the time, as well as age, nationality, social class, and education.

A person born in the 1960s or the Middle Ages will not behave the same way as a character born in different time periods. Nationality is also important because it works with different cultures; a character who lives in Japanese culture is not the same as a Latin character. This is because different cultures work with different nationalities.

If you are a teenager, you will be dealing with puberty; if you are a person in their 40s, you may be going through a midlife crisis of "Who am I?" the type of clothing you wear, how you interact with technology, vocabulary, the number of responsibilities you have, and existential crises are also impacted by age.

Another important aspect is to determine the driving force behind your character.

  • What is it that propels him forward as the story progresses?
  • Where does he hope to travel next?
  • What is it that he desires?

One strategy is to give one of your characters a secret that will never come out during the story but that the readers might be able to figure out on their own based on how the character behaves.

CONSISTENCY:

Your character needs to have a distinct personality, one in which his deeds and choices remain in line with one another as the plot progresses. Note that this does not imply that he must keep the same opinion throughout the story. For a better understanding of this concept, please refer to the following examples.

Inconsistency: At the book's beginning, the protagonist states that he is the shyest person in the world. As the story progresses, the protagonist continues to go through experiences that support this idea. However, in the very last chapter of the book, the protagonist, for some reason, decides to sing in front of everyone in a show. This is inconsistent.

Consistency: At the beginning of the book, the protagonist states that he is the shyest person in the world, and throughout the book, he works with this problem, gradually losing his shyness in different situations where his friends and family help him. By the end of the book, he's already built confidence, and he decides to sing in front of everyone at a show, even though he had previously stated that he was the shyest person in the world. The gradual change makes this consistent with the character.

A narrative in which the characters' decisions are inconsistent can confuse the reader and cause a break in the story. Additionally, this interferes with the reader's ability to empathize with the character. Unless the story has a specific reason for this sudden shift in behavior, you want to keep changes gradual and characters generally consistent.

GROWTH:

Every good character in a story needs to develop throughout the narrative. This means that the character must undergo a discernible change directly from everything that happens to him throughout the story.

It is essential to ensure that it does not stay the same from the beginning to the end because this does not occur in reality. Because we are humans who grow and develop due to our experiences, the way you think today will not be the same as how you thought two years ago or even a few months ago.

The same thing needs to happen with your character to appear more genuine.

The result of this is increased empathy on the reader's part, as well as an increased desire to learn more about how the character develops throughout all of the events still to take place in the story.

NOT SO GOOD, NOT SO BAD:

We must come to terms with the fact that not every single person is completely good or completely evil; the same is true of our characters.

It is vitally important to delve into these facets of his personality to understand his positive and negative attributes.

For example, it's possible for a hero to engage in self-serving behavior, just as it's possible for a villain to demonstrate compassion. Because of this, some villains end up being admired by a significant number of people.

It is difficult to connect with a character that behaves in this manner, which is why it is common to find readers who criticize very goody-good characters, saying that they are boring, annoying, or even cheesy.

Just as there is no such thing as a perfect person, there is also no such thing as a perfect character. A crucial part of this process is developing the ability to analyze and critique your character.

Keep in mind, too, that what we typically project on the outside may not accurately reflect how we truly feel on the inside. This can also happen with our characters, particularly in a first-person narrative, where they can distinguish the interior from the exterior.

Although they appear to be friends, one character may secretly have romantic feelings for another.

A character can put on a smile and help someone else out, all the while secretly belittling the other person in their head.

RELATIONSHIPS:

One more facet of the character is how he interacts with the other people around him. This includes boyfriends, neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, close and extended family members, friends, and members of varying degrees of proximity.

Because we humans are social beings who behave differently depending on the company we keep, your character must do the same thing depending on who they are with.

For example, he can be more reserved when he is around his parents and more at ease when he is around his friends. However, he should use a baby voice around his romantic partner.

It is also important to define which of these relationships the character typically prioritizes and his position when meeting new people, such as whether he is more introverted or extroverted.

WRITING CHARACTERS FROM OTHER REALITIES THAN YOURS:

Characters who live in different realities than the author's own situation can be interesting fodder for many writers. For example, these characters could reside in a different nation, have a different economic situation, different personalities, or even have some kind of disability or illness.

Because you may have readers who live this situation in their own life, it is extremely important that they feel represented or that it generates feelings of empathy, or relatability. Therefore, the writer must do thorough research to express this reality in these cases. And the connection necessary for continuing the same life.

For this purpose, you should look for reliable sources and consider listening to or watching videos of people who go through this regularly. Not only considering the viewpoints of those who are removed from the situation but also taking into account the perspectives of those directly involved.

When you have finished the work, it is a good idea to find a sensitive reader, which means one immersed in this reality, to evaluate your story and determine whether or not it makes sense.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.

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