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Bringing your characters to life

Creating compelling characters is the backbone of any successful novel. These fictional beings drive the narrative, engage readers, and leave a lasting impact. In this post, I'll be discussing the the art of character development and delve into some of the key elements that make characters feel real.

A well-defined character grabs readers by the heart, making them feel like they’re part of the story. When a character is carefully created with a personality, flaws, and a journey, readers connect with them on a personal level. This emotional bond keeps readers engaged and invested in the narrative. Simple, relatable characters make a story unforgettable, leaving a lasting impression on readers even after they finish the book.

Here are a few tips on developing your characters

Know Your Characters:

Before putting pen to paper, take the time to intimately know your characters. Understand their backgrounds, motivations, fears, and desires. Consider their past experiences, relationships, and how these factors shape who they are in the present.

Flaws and Imperfections:

Perfect characters are often unrelatable and boring. Infuse flaws and imperfections into your characters to make them more authentic. These shortcomings not only add depth but also provide opportunities for growth throughout the narrative.

Character Arcs:

Every well-rounded character undergoes some form of transformation. Establish a clear character arc – a journey of change or self-discovery. This evolution keeps readers invested in the narrative and emotionally connected to the characters.

Dialogue that Reveals:

Craft dialogue that not only moves the plot forward but also reveals aspects of your characters. Pay attention to their speech patterns, vocabulary, and the way they express themselves. Dialogue is a powerful tool for character development. I not only visualise my characters appearance but create their voices and accents in my mind as I am writing.

Show, Don’t Tell:

Instead of directly telling readers about your character's, show them through actions, reactions, and interactions. Allow readers to draw conclusions about who your characters are based on their behaviors and decisions.

Relationships Matter:

Explore the dynamics between characters. Whether it’s friendships, romances, or conflicts, these relationships add layers to your characters and contribute to their overall development. Consider how each relationship shapes the characters involved.

Use Real-life Inspiration:

Observing real people can provide valuable insights for character development. Draw inspiration from the people around you, paying attention to quirks, habits, and unique personalities. Incorporate these nuances into your characters for authenticity.

Motivations Drive Actions:

Understanding your characters’ motivations is crucial for crafting believable actions and decisions. What do they want? What are they willing to sacrifice? Align their motivations with their personalities to create a more cohesive and genuine character.

Consistency is Key:

Maintain consistency in your characters’ behaviors, beliefs, and personalities. Readers will appreciate characters who remain true to themselves throughout the story. Inconsistencies can disrupt the narrative flow and undermine the authenticity of your characters.

Developing authentic characters is a process that requires time, thought, and attention to detail. By investing in your characters and bringing them to life through careful consideration of their backgrounds, flaws, relationships, and growth, you’ll create a narrative that resonates with readers and stands the test of time (Hopefully)

Whilst writing the Utopia conspiracy I had the benefit of calling upon many legendary characters from the past. However it was the fictional characters that i enjoyed creating the most and forming the bonds and interaction between them and the real life characters.

Whats your experiences and tips with character creation?

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