December 22, 2010

Help! My characters need more... character!

Anyone else out there struggle with creating lifelike characters? I keep reminding myself to let my characters drive my story, instead of commanding puppets to do my bidding. (I guess that's the problem with playing God in your stories.)

So how do you create awesome characters? I've posted about characters before. (You can see them all by clicking here. It'll open up in a new window.) But guess what? I needed some inspiration and I hunted down more help on characters.

How to Build a Great Leading Character gives you a laundry list of things to consider when creating your protagonist.

Miriam S. Forster has a 6-part series called Character is Destiny. The first post is here and it's on the Edward/Bella dilema.

My go-to site on characters is Show Some Character! Plot to Punctuation. If you need help on character building, spend a few days scouring his site. Specifically, Five Steps to Building a Believable Character Arc and 7 Ways to Show Character Growth.


Brittany said...

I struggle with life-like characters, too. Sometimes I analyze my favorite characters from other books, to see what makes them so life-like. I try to make sure my characters are flawed and change somehow throughout the story.

One of my favorite writing resources is The Other Side of Story: It's a blog by MG author Janice Hardy, and I know she has some articles on characters somewhere in there.

Kari Marie said...

I struggle with this too. I always try to go back to what makes them unique and how it would mold their response. Great links here. I'll check them out.

Prue said...

Yes, I struggle with characters too. My struggle is getting onto paper what is in my head!
Because in my head the characters are real, 3D, very different from each other. I KNOW this and yet portraying it is so very difficult.

Thanks for sharing the links Emily.

Unknown said...

On facebook, Carolyn Kaufman said:
There's a big sidebar/box in my Writer's Guide to Psychology to help writers take Susan's suggestions to a whole new level. In it, I suggest that your characters are trying to make particular impressions on other characters (and, frankly, o...n readers) -- but are they succeeding or failing? And what are some of the many untapped ways you can help your character "give himself away"?

Another resource I love is something called "The Clinician's Thesaurus," which was created to help psychologists and psychiatrists capture their clients in writing better -- and it is a mother lode for writers!

I have an Amazon Listmania! list with some of my favorite resources, including The Clinician's Thesaurus, The Writer's Guide to Character Traits, and some other books you may want to consider for your character-building bookshelf!

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