Elements of Fiction: Characters Part 2

Monday, May 10

The first thing most writers need is a main character. They're often used to initiate the story, and are one of the first things to be introduced. Whether they're likable or not, they need to draw sympathy from the reader to be successful.

The most prevelent way is by drawing on the character's plight. What obstacles do they face? What do they stand to lose?

In the less than life-threatening scenarios (new school, parents who don't understand, ect.) it can be difficult to create immediate sympathy. In these situations, the character, rather than his conflicts,  needs to be the bond with the reader.

What is there to like about your character? Are they funny, dramatic, stubborn?
For an unlikable character, they should at least have the desire to do something right. Someone whose only wish to destroy and hurt others is hard to feel connected to.

6 comment(s):

Milli Monday, May 10, 2010  

These posts are awesome!

Shaynie Monday, May 10, 2010  

I agree. However, I struggle with one thing. Should you create your characters and have them all mapped out before the book starts, and then make them fit into the book? Or should you plan their quirks around the book for conflict's sake?

Story Weaver Wednesday, May 12, 2010  

Thanks Milli!:)

Shaynie; I don't think you have to map out all your characters before writing. That would be difficult.
As to their personalities, it's really up to you.
The conflicts can affect who they are (i.e. a character is bitter over the death of his wife) or their quirks can affect the conflict (A character's lack of caution can result in huge dilemmas).
I tend to do a little bit of both, even within one story.
Does that help? Or did I completely miss the point of your question?

Shaynie Friday, May 14, 2010  

That helps a lot!!! Thanks! I guess it's good to start with a base character, and then see where that takes you. Like maybe their quirks *do* lead them into a big mess!

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