Characters #1

There are two important that every good story needs: characters, and plot. Only if the author balanced proparly the two, he can write good story. There so many good tips and important information that every writer should know- this is why this post is the first of others to come. This posts is focus on the basics.

So what is it a character? Acording to wikipedia, “A character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative (such as a novel, play, television series, film, or video game).” The character can be a man, woman, animal, object or a new thing. What makes them a character, and not a background?

  1. They have a motive: The character is always doing her action for a reason. Let’s look on a familier Fairy Tale- The evil step-mother convince her husband to leave his children on the forest because they are poor and can’t feed four mouths. The witch imprisoning the children because she is starving. Hansel and Gretel murdering the witch because they want to live. If you want a good character, you should give them a great motive.
  2. They have personality traits: On short stories it can be one personality trait, on novel you should give them more. But every character has those. If we are using again on the Hansel and Gretel example again, the children are smart (You can see that from the first time they are left in the forest, and how they finds their way back home and when they trick the witch into the oven).
  3. They have goals: Don’t get confused! Motive and goal are not the same thing! Motive is the reason that your character is doing whatever it is they are doing, a goal is the future reward that your character is eager to get in the end. The step-mother goal is to save her husband and herself from starving to death.

How can I see those personality traits, goals and motive?

A good writer show you those by the actions of the character. If the character is paranoid, describing them taking a pill every five minouts and looking behind their back shows their traits. Another way to discribe your character (One that works mostly when the character itself does not pressent) is by making other character to talk about them. This way is annoying when you over use it because when other character talks about them it’s the lazy way, and the reader can feel like you treat them as stupid.

Here is a fun exercise to try: Take a character from a book you resently read, write down their traits, goals and motive.

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