Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Post: Creating Believable Characters

When dealing with fictional characters, it’s crucial to remember that real people rarely know themselves. We often don’t know our minds, we don’t understand why we’re doing some of the things we’re doing, and we cannot really access our subconscious. So what makes a fictional character believable and memorable at the same time?

3 Tips for Creating Believable Characters

1. Pay attention to the world around you
Wherever you go, listen to people around you. People from all areas of the country make for interesting speech patterns and distinct dialects. Usually, the uniqueness of a character comes from the writer's ability to make it come to life. For instance, if you have a character from the Deep South, it is probably indicated to give that character a southern accent, so that you make it ring true. For a character to be believable, the character's voice has to be believable. Moreover, you will avoid a static story by using compelling dialogue.

2. Read your favorite novel
If your characters seem to come out flat, perhaps you should ask yourself whether you are not attributing them with a lot more self-awareness than they should have. Read one of your favorite novels, watch the dialogue closely and analyze the amount of knowledge characters have. How does the writer make the characters sound believable? Try rewriting the dialogue of a character in a novel to make it sound like he or she is from England, for example. Then look at your attempt and see if your rewritten dialogue is authentic and realistic. If it is, you are on the right track to creating more lively characters.

3. Develop your character's voice
Once you have taken stock of these notes, start developing your character's voice and see what techniques you can employ to make him or her unique. Avoid creating static characters. You want characters that instantly come alive and keep your readers engaged. Good dialogue will contribute to keeping the readers wanting to find out more, and believable dialogue adds authenticity to your character.

Making your character's voice realistic will help make you novel a lot stronger and will keep the readers begging for more. While creating believable characters is not an easy task, try to keep at it. Moreover, make sure you also give your characters some gaping holes in their self-knowledge. Even if you have a profoundly introspective character, make sure she's wrong from time to time. Your characters should not know the half of what you know when it comes to their motivations. Don't forget to leave the reader a few surprises, too. A little mystery will help build the suspense!

Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

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Thank you for reading. Keep writing!

Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ
WriteSparks!™ creator

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1 comment:

  1. Great post. There really are a lot of ways to help develop believable characters. All three tips are great pointers.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing