Welcome, my fellow writers! If you’re a self-published author on a mission to create characters that truly come alive on the page, then you’ve come to the right place. Crafting authentic characters is both an art and a science. It’s a skill that can elevate your writing from good to absolutely unforgettable. In this blog post, we will delve deep into the realm of character creation. We’ll share valuable tips, tricks, and insights to help you breathe life into your literary companions.
Before we explore how to craft authentic characters, let’s first understand why they hold such significance in storytelling.
Authentic characters are ones that readers can relate to, and there are a number of archetypes. When readers see themselves or people they know in your characters, they become emotionally invested in your story. They root for your characters through their ups and downs and celebrate their victories.
Think about your favorite books. The chances are high that the characters left a mark on your memory as if they were real individuals. Authentic characters possess this magical quality—they linger in readers minds long after the book is finished.
Authentic characters’ idiosyncrasies, aspirations, and imperfections give rise to conflicts, and their journeys of growth keep readers captivated. Characters who undergo transformation throughout a story are the ones who leave a lasting impression on readers.
These characters mirror the intricacies of human existence. They grapple with dilemmas, face moral quandaries, and experience personal development, and their actions and decisions propel the plot forward. This reflection of real life resonates with readers and makes stories meaningful.
Now that we have established the significance of authentic characters, let’s delve into the details of creating them.
Before diving into writing, take the time to truly understand your characters as if they were real people. Delve deep into their backgrounds, personalities, motivations, and fears. Consider these questions:
When crafting authentic characters, consider their unique ways of speaking, thinking, and expressing themselves. Understanding them deeply will help bring them to life on the pages of your story.
Just like real people, characters should have layers and complexities. They shouldn’t be defined solely by one trait or characteristic. A tough detective might have a soft spot for stray animals, while a seemingly flawless hero could struggle with insecurities. These contradictions make characters feel genuine and relatable.
Make sure your characters speak in a way that matches their personality, background, and life experiences. A teenager from New York City won’t have the same speech patterns as a retired English professor from London. Take note of dialects, accents, and unique ways of speaking to distinguish your characters.
Perfection is overrated; perfect characters tend to be dull because they are static. Don’t hesitate to give your characters flaws, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. These imperfections make them relatable and endearing and give them room to grow. This growth can manifest physically, emotionally, or morally. The key is for them not to be the same person by the end that they were at the beginning.
Characters do not exist in isolation. The way they interact with others can reveal a great deal about their personality and motivations. How they connect with friends, family, and even adversaries gives readers insight into who they truly are.
Let readers see for themselves who your characters are. Instead of simply telling readers that Sarah is kindhearted, show her acts of kindness, like helping an elderly neighbor or rescuing a stray kitten. Actions speak louder than words and provide powerful insights into character traits.
This principle applies not only to individual character traits but also to the dynamics between characters. Instead of simply stating that Tom and Mary are in love, demonstrate their affection through meaningful glances, shared laughter, and tender moments.
Sometimes, crafting authentic characters involves placing your characters in difficult situations and seeing where the situation goes. Challenge your characters by placing them in situations that force them to unveil their true selves. How they respond to adversity can serve as a powerful tool for character development.
Real people are an abundant source of inspiration for crafting authentic characters. Observe those around you in everyday life—friends, family members, colleagues, or even strangers in public—and take note of what makes them unique. Pay attention to their quirks or habits because these can provide valuable insights for crafting authentic characters.
Character development is an ongoing process that requires constant refinement.
As you continue writing, you might uncover new aspects of your characters or realize that certain traits no longer fit the story. Feel free to make edits and revisions to your characters as necessary in order to ensure their authenticity.
Crafting authentic characters is akin to crafting a work of art. Every detail, every subtlety contributes to the depth and richness of your narrative. So, take your time, truly understand your characters on a deep level, and allow them to guide you through their individual journeys.
Remember, authentic characters are what breathe life into your story. They are the ones who will make readers laugh, cry, and cheer alongside them. They are what readers will remember long after they have finished reading. Therefore, my fellow self-published authors, go forth and create characters that spring to life in the minds of your audience. If you would like help taking your writing to the next level, contact Elite Authors today. Happy writing!