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How To Write Compelling Characters For Your Novels

  • By Winston Kuwada
  • Published 02/20/2012
  • Writing

Think of some of the good novels you’ve read recently. What was it about them that made them seem so enjoyable? Well, there are many things, and most of them operate below your conscious awareness. When you read a good book, you aren’t paying attention to writing details or anything like that, you just get pulled into the story and you forget yourself. However, if you were to survey some of the best books ever written, then would all have one thing in common. They have incredible characters that you instantly identify with, and hope will prevail against the obstacles they are confronting. That is the hallmark of any good novel. So if you are starting out to write a novel, or would like to, developing incredible characters will help out a lot. The first thing you need to do is make your characters believable. If they aren’t believable, they will come across as two dimensional cartoon characters. In order to be believable, they have human faults and strengths.

In order to do this, you’ve got to start at the very beginning. Begin with their childhood, and create a mini biography of them. Put some happy times and some sad times in their child

hood. Make sure to put in a couple of horrible things that will shape their future. A good way to really flush out your characters is to have a conversation with them or to interview them. This may seem strange at first, but will help out a great deal. Keep in mind that very little of this information will end up in your book. But when your characters speak and act, they will be much more realistic to your readers. Each character has to have on major flaw. And when they confront the major obstacles or problem in the story, they also have to face their major flaw as well. And when they do, the readers have to hope that they will be successful, but they also have to have a real fear that they won’t be able to. Otherwise, they’ll be reading a comic book where they know that the hero will save the day in the end. A good story should have at least one main character, and a couple supporting characters. With the supporting characters you’ve got to do the same background work, but you don’t have to do nearly as much.

When you put all this together, you will have an amazing character that will really hook your readers in. Once they start, they won’t be able to stop. They’ll keep reading and reading until they get to the finish.



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