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Building a character

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, May 1, 2020

A key aspect to creating a strong story is having believable characters. They are, after all, a key backbone to your narrative. So here are three tips that can help you put together a well rounded character.

1. Create a backstory
If you’re naming a character then you got to give them a backstory. What was their childhood like? Who were their parents? Where did they come from? Knowing a character’s backstory will make it easier to write how they would speak and react in any given moment. This will make your characters feel consistent, making them feel believable. Even if the backstory isn’t used in your main story, this goes on to inform who your character is and the motivations they have so it’s important to get those details down.

2. Weave in some flaws
Every human has flaws. Even the ones that believe they are perfect. Introducing a flaw makes the character more relatable. Basing their flaws on their backstory will make your characters feel more rounded, as their experiences can highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

For instance, say a character has experienced a terrible loss of their parents in the past. A flaw, based on their backstory, could be them running away from the situation. They avoid conflict and emotional pain which can render them feeling detached. This flaw could be highlighted when another character begins to become close to them; they’ll begin to push them away because that flaw is now ingrained.

By linking flaws with the backstory there is a cause and effect dichotomy that can serve as an emotional connection with the reader.

3. Decide how your character speaks
Does your character curse a lot? Do they use slang or are they concise with their speech? Speaking is a primary mode of communication. Think about the people around you and the language that they use. You’ll find that they have a certain way of speaking. Take note of the words that they use. It’s also worth taking into consideration their tone as well particularly if they have a dry sense of humour or use sarcasm. If they are a positive person they’ll have a brighter vocabulary than a person who is more pessimistic. How your character uses speech to converse with others is a key way to show off their personality.

What are your tips for making a character more rounded? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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Ozoneocean at 8:25PM, May 1, 2020

Tips for making a well rounded character... Hmmmm. I start with how a person looks and try and work it out from there. I shore up the deficits as I go :D

ShaRose49 at 9:17AM, May 1, 2020

I agree with all of these! And even if a certain character’s backstory isn’t shown in the story, (sometimes there isn’t time for every character to have one) be sure to make that character feel human; relatable in some way.

Corruption at 7:54AM, May 1, 2020

For people like me, we look at why we make the character. If it needs to fill a roll, how to make a character that would do it. (This is for plot driven stories, not character driven ones) A "flaw" is simply a character trait that can cause issues, like comming from a different culture, or being an athiest in a highly religous area. It could be more serious, like dealing with major issues. (Not knowing how to hanle someone havingtodeal with something could be seen as a flaw.) A "flaw" could also be a nice plot hook, but done overboard can be the stories fatal flaw. All traits have to work together with the plot and backstory to make a believable character

usedbooks at 6:00AM, May 1, 2020

I never think in terms of "flaws." I don't find characters "flawed" because I don't find real people "flawed." It irritated me how every article on character building uses that terminology. Characters have characteristics. Stories aren't rpg games that have to have all the stats "balanced." Some people are messes and some seem to have it all together. You don't have to "add flaws" to make them realistic. Their flaw can be the fact that they HAVEN'T had hardships. So they are probably less sympathetic. If someone never fails, they are likely arrogant. Failure would hit them harder than someone who is used to it. It isn't a matter of "adding flaws," but of thinking out the natural reactions and consequences. Granted, the more "with it" characters are less appealing and make poor protagonists, because readers can't relate to them. Not every character will be likable, but you can make them feel real.

Banes at 5:09AM, May 1, 2020

I like that 'linking the flaws with the backstory' part. That seems like it gets some inner conflicts going and story ideas startin' to happen.

sphinx8k at 2:15AM, May 1, 2020


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