Before I let her get cracking, though, I just want to mention that I'm still looking for writers in June. Theme: Querying and Submission. If you are interested in doing a guest post, please read here and contact me. Have a great weekend!
Admin's done. Now you can take it away, Diane.
If the plot is the backbone of the story, then the characters are the heart. Creating believable characters that your readers will identify with is crucial to a good story. Your characters must have depth, personality and the ability to evoke an emotional response from your reader.
Many writers envision the setting first and the people inhabiting that world second. This sometimes results in shallow characters. Developing a character in depth, complete with flaws, will give you a basis for your narrative. It is easier to build a plot around an individual than force that character into unrealistic situations.
Two factors will determine your character – their background and their personality type. Humans all share similar feelings and needs, but how they respond to those depends on their upbringing and their basic, fundamental personality.
Race, culture, religion, and economic status all contribute to one’s development as a person. A person’s moral compass is affected by their upbringing. A person raised in a loving family on a farm and someone raised on the streets of New York will not react the same! Flesh out your character with a family history, interests, and experiences.
I recommend that you become familiar with the four basic personality types – choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic. (“Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer is an excellent book for researching personality types and traits.) A bold, first-born choleric would likely take charge in a situation, while an introverted phlegmatic would step aside.
Avoid the temptation to create a perfect character. People are flawed creatures. Give them weaknesses, impulses, and unresolved issues. They will also need strengths and dreams to carry them and the story forward.
Remember these three points:
1 - Create a background for you characters
2 - Develop their personality
3 - Give your characters weaknesses, strengths, and dreams based on their background and personality
Characters will always be the drive and focal point of any story. Build on those characters first. Once you have established that foundation, you can begin creating an intriguing tale!
L. Diane Wolfe
Professional Speaker & Author
Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the NSA and a motivational speaker. “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting”, ties all of her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together into one complete, enthusiastic package. She also conducts seminars on book publishing and promoting, and assists writers through her author services. Her YA series, The Circle of Friends, features morally grounded, positive stories that appeal to both teens and concerned parents. Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.