Your characters are the most important part of your story and they are where your reader will most relate. If your reader does not relate to your character, they will stop reading. The reader must have that “oh yeah, I can relate to that” feeling with at least one of your characters.
Start by asking yourself a lot of questions about your character. How old are they? Where do they live? What do they look like? What race/culture are they? Near the end of this book, you will find a questionnaire that is a great tool for developing your character. You can use this questionnaire for every character you develop. You don’t have to answer every question, just the ones that relate to your character.
You are developing a personality for your character. That personality can come from within yourself, or can be totally different from you, the author. Generally within a story there are good characters and not so good (bad) characters. You will develop your character’s personality based on “who” they are in the story. Are they a good guy or a bad guy? Are they weak or are they strong? Are they nice or are they mean? Do people like them? Do people hate them? Asking yourself questions like these will help you develop the character’s personality.
Main Characters: Generally there are two types of main characters:
• The good guy/gal character: This should be a character that the readers really cares about. They really want this character to succeed.
• The bad guy/gal character: This should be a character that the reader loves to hate. Ewww they make me so mad…but the reader wants to hear more because they are intrigued. Maybe this character is one that they wouldn’t dare to be like, but man would it be cool!
Choosing Character Names: Picking the right names for your characters may seem like an insignificant part of writing your story however, it is vital to your reader. This process generally comes easy for a writer, but ensuring that they are matching the right name with the character may not be so easy. Most writers have a general idea of what their character looks like in their mind and what name they believe should be associated with that character. Other writers struggle with this process and find it as difficult as naming one of their own children.
Asking yourself the following questions may help you to discover the perfect name. What historical period is your character living in? Do some research on that period on the internet or at the library and find out what names were prominent during that time period.
What culture are your characters from? Are they from the south? Do they have an heavy accent? Are they city people? Are they country people? Researching the cultures of your character can also afford you some good names. How old are your characters? Are they young children? Are they elderly? Research names during the year your character may have been born.
Baby books are a fantastic reference for looking up names. They will also give you a hint as to what that name means and it may help you associate a name with their character. Look at other books to get ideas for character names. If you know a good book in the same genre that may have characters with some similarities, look at the names within that book. Just reading those names may help spark something in your imagination.
Use names that are familiar to you. Use the names of family members, friends, associates, etc. But, if you are using their exact name, please be sure to obtain their permission (in writing preferably).
There are different types of characters. The five main types of characters are:
Static character: a character that does not significantly change throughout the story.
Dynamic character: a character that changes significantly or even completely during the course of the story.
Foil: a character that pits against the protagonist so that they also become an important part of the story.
Supporting characters: these characters are important to the plot, but they support the main character. Such characters would be: the friend, the spouse, the children, etc.
Minor character: a character that may even only appear once in the story or a few times.
Building strong characters is vital to your story. If your readers can’t relate to your characters, they may put down your work and never finish it. These tips should help you build strong, likeable characters (even the evil ones).