more on creating good characters

After skimming a bunch of writing books, I shall share a few tips I found in them, one of them being that an editing book written in bullet form would be nice.

(Maybe the first half as bullets, like, when starting a sentence with an -ing verb, make sure that the two verbs can be done simultaneously. Incorrect: Tying his shoes, he ran down the stairs. Correct: Whistling Yankee Doodle, he pranced through the lobby. Then, See page 302 for details. Perfect editing book in my opinion.)

Some of these I’ve surprisingly already said, now that I’ve thought about it. You can look at my post last week about the five parts to any character. Obviously, this is a little different but I think this list is better. The other list, however, has some parts that shouldn’t be forgotten.

These came from the books Creating Characters : How to Build Story People and Manuscript Makeover. Both of those books looked rather decent actually.

Anyway, here we go with the character details.

1. Characters need strengths. All characters need something that they can do pretty well, because everyone has some kind of strength, even if that strength might be being a jack of all trades.

2. Characters need weaknesses. When was the last time you ran into someone who didn’t have a problem or flaw, and not the physical kind of flaw either? I’d like to get a list of weaknesses that people notice going, so maybe I’ll do that soon. Please recommend one if you know.

3. Characters need motivation. Why do they do what they do? What pushes them to succeed?

4. Characters need backstory. What haunts them from their past? This is a really fun one for me, although I have to make sure not to kill too many people. [insert evil grin here.].

5. Don’t overload the characters. In other words, one strength does not make up for seven weaknesses. It’ll look too fake.

6. Spice them up. This meaning you add uniqueness to your character. Not that I’m trying to say anything about myself, but I am probably a perfect example of this. I wear long, full skirts, have my long hair somewhat covered, and then roam the science fiction aisles looking for books to read and can type a hundred words a minute on my laptop. Not two things you would think go together.

I think those things would be enough to make any character pretty decent in most any book.

Also, for anyone who cares, this is my one hundredth post on this blog.

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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