Line of Fire, An Autumn Rain Novel


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For Aspiring Writers

Creating realistic characters

By Rachel Ann Nunes

Tips:
  1. You must feel deeply about your characters for others to do so. He/she must be likeable.

  2. Make your character larger than life—and yet believable!

  3. Yet don't give your character all qualities you admire. They can't be a rainforest activist, a nuclear physicist, a social worker, a popular speaker, and a champion of children, animals, and old people. Get the idea? Choose one or two solid talents and stick to these throughout the novel.

  4. Character must have weaknesses and make mistakes. And in most novels the characters will grow and change over the course of the story. This is not necessarily the case with adventure novels where the action is the story.

  5. Do not include character's background unless it is vital to the plot.

  6. Choose your names carefully.

  7. Main characters should be active, not passive. Remember that at some point she will take charge of the story/action.

  8. Use dialog to reveal characters' traits and views, as well as inner thoughts and actions. Make sure dialog is appropriate to age, gender, and cultural background.

  9. Don't step out of character!

  10. Use powerful verbs instead of descriptive words.

  11. Motivation—make sure you know what it is and why they do what they do.

  12. How is character perceived by others? Not everyone will love your character.

  13. Character does not have to receive the cake AND the icing in the end. Does your character have too much? You do not need to resolve everything in exactly the best possible scenario.

Try writing a character sketch and a short background for every character in your novel/story. Remember to make this detailed as possible and then stick to it. If you do have to change something, remember to make the change throughout the entire novel. And also remember that you won't use everything on your sketch, but using one will make them feel like real characters!

Character Sketch

Name (and reason for name):

Physical attributes:

Frequently used expressions:

Frequently used facial expression or other physical gesture:

Education:

Main goal (dream) at this point in time (will likely change over course of novel):

Secondary goals:

Family:

Friends:

Place of residence (city, house, etc.):

Worst past experience:

Best past experience:

Favorite foods:

Hobbies:

Habits (bad and good):

Any other information: