Thursday, December 10

I Can See Him With My Eyes Closed

Characters are the most important part of a story. They drive the plot along, not to mention also inspire and encourage readers. Characters are more then fictional creations— they can also be best friends.
Even though characters are incredibly important, one of the most common difficulties of creating them is making them likable and realistic. Here are some tips that can help you turn a weak, two-dimensional character into a person who is so vibrant that readers can see them with their eyes closed. 

Let’s say that you have a character named Panther, a thirteen year old boy who lives in a small town. In order to make him three-dimensional, there must be four aspects to his character. Panther needs to be vulnerable, imperfect, likable, and unique.
Here are some example passages that could help the reader see Panther with their eyes closed:

A blue tennis shoe sweeps my feet from under me and flips me into a mud puddle. When I look up, face streaming with brown muck and leaf carcasses, the other kids are laughing.
Panther needs to be vulnerable. If he can’t be touched, and nothing would hurt him, what’s interesting about reading that? Even Superman is in danger to kryptonite. Vulnerability makes the reader feel fear for Panther, and drives the plot to evermore greater anticipation. 

Passing by the giant, gold-rimmed mirror I see that my cheek has a smudge of orange on it. I wipe it off, and my clumsy elbows knock the mirror off the wall. It falls to the ground, and I manage to jump back right before the glass shards puncture my flesh.
Panther needs to be faulty and full of mistakes. Have you ever heard the term,”Nobody’s perfect?” That applies to characters, too. If Panther is a little angel that can do no wrong, he isn’t very interesting to read about. If he was perfect, your readers would probably through the book out of the window in frustration.

One bad thing about living in a small town is that everyone knows about your history. Even though it was in third grade, I am still known for pouring snakes on my teacher’s head. For that reason, people stay away from me.
Panther needs to be likable and appealing to the reader. A good way to do this is to make him an underdog. Readers want underdogs, or the heroes to win, and villains to lose. But if Panther is an evil person who strangles baby birds, readers are not going to like him. In fact, they will probably be cheering the villains on. 

My mom is asian, and my dad is Irish. In a town full of brown haired people, I’m the odd one out. Everyone says that it shouldn’t matter—but it does. 
Panther needs to be unique. It doesn’t need to be a huge difference, but at least one trait or fact about Panther needs to be different than everybody else. Just as all people are different, all characters are as well.
Characters are friends that we can play with, people that we can share every memory, every mistake, and every triumph with. Characters are apart of everyone’s life, readers and writers alike. So whether they are in progress like Panther or nearly perfect like Polly from Polly Wants to be a Writer, never forget everything that they give us and their stories.
So if you’re struggling with a weak character, just remember: 

If Polly can do it, so can you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting!