compelling characters

5 quick fire ways to create a compelling character

It’s a Monday morning (or afternoon) and your mind is muddled from the weekend’s events.

You’re on your third coffee and you’ve been staring at that same page of text for the past two hours wondering how to bring the characters in your story to life.

Never fear, here are five quick fire ways to create a compelling character for your reading pleasure…

  1. Give your character a unique voice. Everyone has their own way of saying things and expressing themselves, so give your character their own tone of voice when they come to speak. You don’t need to use gimmicks or catchphrases, simply think of three different people you know and how they would approach making a speech on the same subject; this is often a good way to get the ball rolling.
  2. Give your character an obsessionFor one reason or another, people with obsessions are very interesting. When developing your character, give him, her or it, a clear cut obsession and this will offer you real sense of urgency when exploring their ins and outs – who knows what you you could uncover?
  3. Decide what your character wants the most. As human beings, desire rules us. Find out what your character wants the most and not only will you be able to unlock lots of hidden potential, it may even help you to add another dimension to your overall story.
  4. Give your character noticeable flaws. None of us are perfect; that’s what makes us human. Perhaps your character thinks he or she is being sly and manipulative when in fact they’re being completely transparent. These character flaws, or weaknesses, can lead to some pretty dramatic moments, so use them to your advantage.
  5. Give them a great nameWe give names to our children, names to our pets and nicknames to our friends, so although it may sound completely obvious, giving your character a name that’s either striking, or means something to you is a great way of opening up the imagination and letting your ideas flow onto the page.

Good luck and if you have any more suggestions on how to create compelling characters, please leave a comment.

image: Renzo Ferrante via Flickr

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