As the world progresses, so does literature. It is a process that occures in every field of life, and so we have to keep our steps in check and go along with the flow. Today, publishers all over the world look for character. They need stories driven by character, motives, expressions, dialogue.
Narrative, albeit an essential part of your story is not its backbone. I believe it's character.
Everything that happens in the story, happens through the character - so why not make your character the focal point of your story. Often, we come up with characters that are one-sided and fake and thus, the story (no matter how engaging the plot) becomes mundane.
This column will help you bring your characters to life.
Sketch the Character In Your Mind
The first thing you need to do, is to draw away from your story for a little while and brainstorm. Think. What would you be interested in reading about? This is the time to take a paper and pen write down important things: name, gender, height, build, face, hair etcetra.
This list is essential for you. You need to know all the details about your character. Remember, none of these details are very important to a story - they are to help you. You don't need to include these into your story at all.
Give them a Personality
Personality is essential. You always hear about characterization. Well! This is it! Your characterization depends solely on how well the personality of your character effects every thing he does in your story. Here, is where you let go of your reigns and just gallop - let your mind run free.
Be the most creative you can be: people are such weirdos! Incorporate them into your character.
Is the character sadistic? Is it gloomy? Does every little thing in life make it cringe? I have a protagonist who washes his hand ten times. He's a germ freak. It's interesting to read about him! I have a Catholic perfectionist who killed her husband because he was gay - all character driven.
The possibilities are endless:
- a woman who has never seen the light of day.
- a man with an obession with cats and a library dedicated to the knowledge of these species.
- an accountant whose life long dream has been - bullfighting.
- a congrassman who enjoys shipments of dog meat from China.
- an insane man who wants to wage war on Ants.
I could keep rambling forever!
This the part I truly love and enjoy. It brightens the whole story. Gives it color and spark. These little tidbits: habits, quirks etcetra give life to your character.
Introduce your Character
Introduction of the character is essential and people mess this part up - alot!
The introduction must flow with the story perfectly. Never distract the reader. Lists - are the most terrible.
Example A: Charlie was a sweet, good kid, dark brown hair, blue eyes, 5 feet 10' inches, 150 lbs, thin and scrawny and he loved the Beatles - Who would want to read this?
Example B: Charlie was an old-fashioned 'Mommas boy', as his friends often teased him. Unlike his mates, he had never had a flair for contemporary music and favored a more classic taste. The walls in his room were covered with posters of The Beatles. Their albums were stacked on his shelves one over the other, encased in plastic wraps like a treasured collection. On the whole, he was average Joe: hair that fenced on dark brown and black, blue inquisitve eyes, average height and a build that clearly showed he had never exercised. - This paragraph tells you everything you need to know. It draws you in, makes you empathize, makes the person more human and you - more attached.
Let the Character Move the Story Forward
Remember, once the character has been established, the story and plotline greatly depends on the actions of your character. Your dialogue, your narrative, your emotion - it all must reflect the character.
The main decisions should not be made by fate or chance - they should be made by your character.
I hope this helps anyone who wants to characterize better!
Please, take your time and don't rush your stories.
Let them develop with you.