What makes a character compelling? Is a characters likability in the eye of the beholder? Maybe, but maybe not.
We as writers have the power of words. Words are powerful and give us the ability to make a reader fall in love with a character or loathe a character. Watch out because writers will put a spell on you dear readers! So, how are we as writers going to make you love or hate a character?
Know your characters better than they know themselves. Know what makes them tick early in your writing and create a character profile. It is a great way to get to know those fabulous characters that live in the depths of our brains and come to life through our words!
Here are some ideas to add in a character profile.
-Past experiences- good or bad experiences, environment they grew up in, their family, friends.
A teen who grew up in New York City will sure think and act different than say a teen who grew up in the middle of Kansas.
-Character motivations-What internal and external motivation makes that character tick.
Think character goal, motivation, and conflict.
-Physical appearance- eyes, weight, height color hair.
-Environment- Do they live in the country, city, or another planet?
-Quirks-bring on some bad habits, nail biting, hair twirling, addiction to candy.
-Actions- how do characters react to negative or positive situations? Are they followers, take control of situations, or run away morphing into a mouse?
-Style-Do they wear overalls and don't care about what they look like or are they addicted to shopping at the Gap?
-Hobbies-What brings them happiness?
Need a hobby? CLICK HERE for 101 hobbies
-Pet peeves-We all have them! Bad driving, not putting the toilet seat down, leaving laundry in a pile
on the floor.
Need ideas? CLICK HERE for a list of 500 pet peeves
Now quick take that character and slap some handcuffs on them, don't forget to read them their Miranda rights. Take them to the local precinct. They are in a room now with a one way mirror. You put a cup of day old Joe in front of them and take off the cuffs. First you do good cop. Then you walk out of the room behind the mirror and put on a wig. You go back in and do bad cop. Interrogate the heck out of them and be amazed at the things you learn from your character!
I just want to add a link. The ladies of SEEKERVILLE have a wonderful and informative post on developing characters today also. They write christian fiction and their blog was the very first blog I read on writing and they have become blogging mentors for me. It is an example of how just because you write a certain genre doesn't mean you can't learn a thing or two by writer's of a different genre. (Oh and I love their books). Variety is the spice of life!
I LOVE experiments. For anyone who is ever afraid their writing will mirror another writers, go see Elana's blog (in the side bar to the right) for a full list of participants who are blogging on this same topic. I guarantee that the 80 plus participants will all having something different to add! Bring on those compelling character!