Making Characters Feel Real

Creating a believable or realistic character is one of the biggest challenges for almost all fiction writers. Generally, a realistic character possesses the ability to make the reader stay glued until the end of the story. And this is due to the fact that they do not just make the reader perceive them as unique and interesting, but also likeable and relatable. This showcases the importance of three-dimensional characters. They are the characters that are believable as well as relatable. Some minor characters may not be really necessary for the plot but yet, even they can  create a sense of reality. Without a three-dimensional character, no matter how innovative or creative your writing might be, it could quickly fall flat. Striking out this balance can prove to be a herculean task to achieve. However, in order to tackle this problem, fiction writers have established various methods of creating such characters that are credible as well as realistic to the reader.

Make use of basic details and physical description

This can be done in several ways which includes:

  • Naming the character as it serves as the primary identifier.
  • Note your character’s specific details which includes; the gender, age and more.
  • State and describe your character’s eye and hair color.
  • Make known your character’s style of dressing.
  • Determine the character’s class and background.
  • Carry out a study on the profession of the character ( make the character’s career or profession known)

Make Use of Character Motivation

This involves the following:

  • Giving your character an aim, target, purpose or desire: The goal of your character should be unique to their character.
  • Considering the character’s strengths as well as weaknesses: Provide a well rounded character that would be relatable to your readers.
  • Giving the character a past trauma or fear; This could represent negative events that your character has experienced and could create tension in the character’s present life.
  • Create an antagonist for the character: This provides an element of reality to your story.

Make Use of Dialogue

This includes:

  • Using colloquial terms: This refers to informal words, slang or phrases. This would make the characters sound as unique as every individual you would meet everyday.
  • Application of code switching: This means a language shift that is made by a character in response to whom they are communicating with. For example, a Jamaican character would start up a conversation with another Jamaican with a slang like,’Yah, mon’, but when conversing with an American, it would change to ‘Hello, sir’.
  • Make use of dialogue tags: They are like signposts and they attribute written dialogues to the characters. Commonly used tags are ‘said’ and ‘told’.
  • Ensure that you read the character’s dialogue out loud: In fiction, a good dialogue must go beyond telling the reader how a character gets from here to there or how the character got to know another character. It must be read out loud to ensure that it actually sounds like a speech a person might say to another in that kind of situation or scene.

Helpful eBooks for Your Writing

Make Your Concepts, Themes & Loglines Stronger

There’s a saying that “Concept is King”. I tend to agree with this. Think about it. The concept of your story is the overall idea at its most basic core. It’s what makes us want to read your book, screenplay or see your movie after millions of dollars has been spent on developing it. You‘ve probably read a book or screenplay that was well written with lots of clever wordplay, but when’s the last time you have heard anyone excited about a mediocre concept? For me, concept is king, but execution is just as important. After all, what good is a cool idea if the author can’t tell the story in the best way it could possibly be told? Imagine if the movie “Karate Kid” was just a movie about a boy learning karate and receiving a black belt at the end to make his single mother proud. What if “The Godfather” was just about an old mob boss who ran his organization with an iron fist then just died at the end of the movie. How would that be any different from the thousands of mob flicks we’ve never even heard of with forgettable plots? These are concepts you most likely would forget an hour after watching them on the big screen.

That’s why it’s important to get a good grasp on what a strong concept is as well as how a great theme can enhance your story. Once you have that down you can use your strongest logline to help sell your script or novel to Hollywood or that big publishing company you have your eye on. In this book, we will focus on how to make your concepts, themes and loglines stronger.

How Important Are Character Names?

This is a question a lot of writers ask at one point or another when starting that fresh new story that has them excited enough to dedicate the next several months (or longer) of their life and being able to type “THE END” with pride and satisfaction. Character names can say a lot about your story’s plot, scene, tone or even play on the theme. While it’s never guaranteed that one hundred percent of your audience will get the full meaning or purpose of what may seem like an ordinary name on the surface for your character, however it can be quite satisfying to those who do. These character names can also serve as a reminder to each of their purposes within your story.

Leave a Reply