Moira here welcoming you to another #SensualSunday post. A conversation I had with a friend got me thinking about my post for this week, and next. It’s an issue some authors run into from time to time, and others seem to never quite get over (if the comments on some books are to be believed). Let’s get down to it…
Giving your Characters some Personality
We all have heard, or know that to ensure you sweep a reader deep into the story you have meticulously woven you need several elements. Details that are realistic and therefore easy for the human mind to comprehend, settings that feel authentic, actions that don’t defy logic/physical capabilities (unless they are alien and don’t have to worry about things like popping out a joint and being rushed to the ER), but most importantly are the characters. Your characters have to be three dimensional, they have to have traits people can relate to if not necessarily like or agree with, and they need to have thoughts, and conversations that propel everything forward.
A key component to any character development is deciding on their personality. Are they a narcissist? Are they an adrenaline junkie? Are they an introvert, or maybe an extrovert? Are they a reader, or a party goer, a thinker, or a doer? Whatever it is you decide they are, be consistent throughout the entire book and/or series. While a character can grow, and yes change, they shouldn’t be Jekyll and Hyde’ing things just because you feel like it. Unless they are actually Jekyll/Hyde – which is a whole different topic!
For example, if your character is shy in the beginning you can have them being more, if likely mildly hesitantly, outgoing by the end, it’s a natural progression especially if there are outside influences (other characters or situations) that encourage/force said character to take that step. But you cannot have a character who is painfully shy in chapter one suddenly the biggest flirt, and party individual in chapter two. A single chapter is NOT enough time for growth, reflection, girding of loins, and bucking up to take that next step. Unless they are that Jekyll/Hyde character of course. But we’re assuming they are not.
The other problem some folks have is flat characters. Again, your characters need to be as three dimensional as I am, as you are, as your friends, family, and co-workers are. They can not be, for all intents and purposes, a piece of paper. Flat, dull, boring, and easily forgotten. That’s right. Characters that don’t get our ire up, make us smile, or have us laughing or crying are quickly, and often permanently, forgotten.
If you can’t close your eyes after reading several pages of your character and immediately visualize him/her as though they stood before you, you have yourself a two dimensional character. And no one wants that. So give them some personality, find them a trait worth having, or worthy of everyone hating if they are the villain, and bring them to life. We as authors want our readers to never forget a story, and the easiest way is to have memorable characters who stand head and shoulders (figuratively) above the rest.
XO Moira Callahan