What makes a character a good character? What is it that makes us feel their feelings and get attached to their story?
There are many views on this subject and I don’t think there’s just one right answer. But I do believe that in order for a character to be a good and intriguing character, it has to be a human.
When I was younger and started writing my first epic fantasy stories, I had this problem with my characters being basically stoic people, walking around in armour. They weren’t people, true people. They didn’t feel like someone you could actually meet on the streets and have conversations with. They all seemed to be empty puppets, controlled by my plot and incapability to write real people.
I was young and inexperienced, and back then I even struggled with basic grammatical rules, for I’m a Finn after all and English wasn’t the first language I learned.
But as time went on and I wrote short stories and even entire books, I slowly got better at creating interesting characters and there’s one thing I started doing which actually changed my creative process.
We all know ourselves better than we know others, at least most of the time. You may know yourself being a bit tense in social situations, maybe you’re overly correct and don’t like taking risks.
Whatever your traits maybe, I’m now urging you to write them down. These traits can serve as valuable sources of inspiration when creating characters!
My process is basically taking a part of my soul and forging a character from it. Almost every character in my current WIP are parts of me and I have that special connection with them because of it. There are characters who value honour above all, and characters who are more silent and driven by a hunger for vengeance.
It is hard to grow a flower on a concrete block, is it not?
I see part of myself in my characters, which allows me to get into their heads and write their feelings in an interesting way. This has helped me a lot since the days I started and today, I feel amazed how lively my characters have grown.
Of course, you shouldn’t be chained by this idea. If you’re not a selfish murderer, don’t feel discouraged to create that kind of character. I don’t even think I have to say that, but I too might get too attached to an idea and force myself to comply with it too much.
Remember, this is a tool for you. It allows you to plant the seed for a great character and create character traits that you can feel in your heart. It makes it easier for you to actually characterize your characters and allow them to grow, for it is hard to grow a flower on a concrete block, is it not?
It’s kind of funny when I look at my characters and I can clearly see the inspiration behind them. There are some characters inspired by some past even from my life, and there are characters who are inspired by the people around me.
After all, characters are meant to be like real people and what better way to achieve that by being inspired by real people!
Hopefully, you found this post helpful and inspiring! If you want to join my journey, check out my other posts and consider following my blog! My deepest thanks to all of you, my dear readers and remember to follow your own calling!
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