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Sunday, August 19, 2012

2D Characters

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The hardest part about writing a book is making believable characters. Some people might tell you that writing a good plot is hard or a realistic setting. But, truthfully, that's not hard at all (in my opinion).

Settings are like seeds. They grow and blossom in your mind until they're fully matured. They grow until all the details in your world are in place. Everything is important: towns, cities, stores, physical features, landmarks, etc. They all help to improve your make-believe world. And there is always something you can do to make your setting see more whole.

Plots are a little harder. It always a challenge to come up with an original story line, something that's never been done before. The best part about plots, though, is that there are an infinite number of them. You might have to push a little deeper or peel back more layers of imagination, but, eventually, you'll come up with a completely unique story that no one's ever heard of or written, for that matter.

But characters are hard. You can every physical feature there is about a character, but we still wouldn't know anything about him/her. That character wouldn't have depth, nothing to make them seem real. For example, I could write-
                     Character name: Elaina
                      Gender: Female         Age: 12            Hometown: Greenfield, Indiana
                      Characteristics: brown and straight hair, brown eyes, slightly overweight, short

and you still wouldn't know any thing about said character.

But if I wrote about Elaina's quirks, her hears, how she accepts herself and life, relationship with her family, etc. you'd have a pretty clear picture of who she really is.

With that said, your character is still not crystal clear. Now we have to make her human. How does Elaina react to obstacles you, the writer, place in her way? Does she give up or does she persist til she gets what she wants. Making a character's path easy makes them seem less human. If they don't feel anything, reader's can't connect to her. No matter how many physical battles your protagonist faces, if they don't fight emotional battles, no one will truly understand your character.

Goals also help to shape characters. Humans have goals. Without them, we are basically nothing. Most people have something they strive towards. Something they put all their time and energy into until they're successful. Characters also must have goals.

Which is why I struggle so much with writing realistic characters!


No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to make my protagonist real enough. She just seems so fake!!!! >:(

How do I show, in my writing, who she truly is? Without saying so directly? I mean, I can't exactly explain who she really is. People just have to know. But people don't. Which makes things doubly hard. How do I convey to readers who my main character is? What more do I need to add? Will my audience understand her better later in the book?

I don't know.

So, for now, I'll just write what I can and worry about my characters later.

Note: I am in no way an expert, so please do not get mad if what I advise doesn't work.

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