How to create your main character.

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Creating main characters are one of the most important parts of writing a story. (Obviously)
They have to come alive and walk of the page.
Today I’m going to share with you my own way of creating characters.
It’s not a very complicated process but for some it might not work since what I do is create a character sheet and then let the details form a person in my head.

The first details are the things you might learn upon a first encounter.
A name.
I like to give my characters names with meaning. It does have to fit the time frame and genre of my story though.
So for this I go to baby naming sites like this one.
For the main character specifically the name has to be short.
There is this one book in my house that I haven’t read yet called The deed of Paksenarrion. I have been told that later in the book she gets the nick name Paks but until then you have to suffer through having to continuously read the name Paksenarrion.
Another useful thing to remember is that a lot of fast readers identify characters not by their names but by the first letter of the name so a good tip is to keep your main character’s name starting with a letter that no other character has.

Age and gender.
Just like a name you discover this immediately upon meeting someone.
Okay so sure people don’t go around telling you their age but you could guess things like 16, 20ish, late 40s.
The first piece of writing advice I was given was choose an age between two years younger and two years older then you. You do not need to follow this tip it’s just something to make it easier for young and new writers.
Do I even need to tell you how to pick a gender?
It’s really simple, ask yourself Male or Female?

Appearance.
This is the last thing you notice about a person on sight.
How does your character look?
You get beautiful woman and handsome men but in the end you are trying to create a character that could pass for a person and not a doll.
Don’t be afraid to give them physical flaws. Or give them that rather more normal look.
With my new story I’m actually having a lot of fun playing around with my appearances.
While my MC has wide blue eyes, a pointed chin, frail form and chin length curly red hair the love interest has dark skin, wavy black hair shaved at the sides, long thin fingers and earrings.
I actually didn’t do this just to create an unlikely couple but to highlight character growth.

Now that we are done with the basics it’s time to start getting to know the characters.
Flaws.
The next thing I look at is my character’s flaws.
For this I go to the character flaw generator.
The thing about flaws is that they need to make sense.
So if you think you have a flaw picked ask yourself why you chose that flaw.
A flaw can be used for character growth as something to overcome or even just to create internal conflict and make life harder for the character.
Fears.
After flaws come fears.
What does your character fear and why?
Fear works in a layer like order where you tart with a main fear which spans smaller fears and other personality quirks.
To learn more and pick a main fear you should go here.
Just like my flaws I choose my fears based on how they will impact the story.
A question you should ask yourself when picking a main fear is where does this fear come from?
What happened in my character’s life to give him this fear?
This leads us to the next part of the character sheet.
The character’s past.
A character’s past is important because it both shows what they have been through and what they consider normal life before the story begins.
Your character doesn’t need a tragic past and can be a perfectly complicated person without a death in the family.
With the past you can pretty much do what you want (Within reason) as long as you remember that everything that happened in the past would have some affect on who your character is.

This is literary all I do for my character.
In case of magic.
If my character has magic I ask how this affects him/her.
When did they realize they can do magic?
How have their family and relations handled this?
What can they do?
In case this does not work for you.
Use this questionnaire.

Go check out these posts.

At she novel.

At mythcreants.

I hope this helped.
Is there anything that you do specifically when you create characters?

weekend writer’s block. (Inspiration for desperate times)

Weekend writers block.Untitled
Now I realize that last week I gave you all this really cool detailed version of a story. If I keep writing post like that I will soon have nothing to share with you and nothing left to write.
From here of on I will share snippets of story ideas instead of the whole thing at once. Occasionally I might share the whole thing at once but I will leave those as surprises for you.

For today I have a character.
Looks.
When it comes to details this character is pretty fearsome. She has a pointed face with strong cheekbones. Her hair is blond and at one side of her head a section of hair is braided tightly to her skin. She is tall and well muscled.
She wears a dark red leather jacket over a black t-shirt with skinny jeans and ankle length boots.
Her nails are painted black except for maybe one or two that she simply paints whatever colour she wants.
She wears dramatic eye makeup and simple black studs in her ears.
She has scars. The first one people notice is the small one that cut through one of her eyebrows. She has more of course, they cover her arms and back.

Where you can find her.
No one knows where this character is at day but at night you can almost certainly find her in the bar by the pool table.
She doesn’t talk to people except when making a bet.

Her actions.
She doesn’t prowl towards people, she doesn’t have a confidant step in her walk. She definitely doesn’t walk like some hunting cat.
She simply walks. Her focus is never on others instead she does and goes whatever she wants as long as it doesn’t draw to much attention to her.
She is really good at pool and always agrees when someone challenges her to a game.
If a fight breaks out she keeps playing pool and no one tries to drag her into the fight because in the past she has broken a pool stick over someone’s neck.

Extra.
She doesn’t smoke, instead she always has a lolly pop in her mouth.
She never cheers when she wins a match at pool.
When walking back to her home after a night at a bar she sings.
She comes from a big city but now lives on a farm not too far out of town.

Questions.
Why did she move to the small town?
What does she spend her day’s doing?
Where did she get those scars?
Why is she so good at pool?
Why does she not smoke?

I hope you like the character, you can name her whatever you want.
In what story would you put her? What would you do to make her seem more real? What do you think her past hides?

Things first noticed. Strong points.

Past how people look the first things we learn about them is what they are good at.

People are passionate about what they are good at.

Let me just make something clear your MC needs skills otherwise he won’t survive it through the book but that doesn’t mean he has to be good at everything.

He just needs to be good at one thing sometimes. A nice piece of advice I read one said give your MC a skill and make sure he knows it well. Your MC doesn’t know a few languages moderately well he speaks eight different languages fluently.

 

I don’t think his skill set should be just random because everything comes from somewhere.

Your MC can’t just sing. He sings because his mother sang to him every night as a kid.

Can your main character through a knife that it hits the bulls-eye ten out of ten times? It is because she was raised by a criminal and constantly fought to prove herself.

 

I don’t think I can properly tell you where to find your MC skills but I suggest you go write down what he does in his day to day life and figure out for yourself what your hero can do.

 

 

 

Questions to ask yourself about your Main Characters past.

Here are a few ways to help create your characters past.

 

  • Make a list of your characters family members both alive and dead.
  • write a short description of how the dead cambers died.
  • who is your MC best friend?
  • What did your character want to become when he grew up as a kid?
  • What relationship did your MC have with the Villain of your story in their past.
  • What relationship did your MC have with the mentor figure in your story.
  • What did the place your MC grew up in look like?
  • What social class was your MC growing up.
  • Does a past crush your MC had play any role in the story?
  • Has your MC ever been betrayed.
  • Has your MC ever betrayed anyone?
  • Write down your MC favorite memory.

 


This is the second post in a post series on Main characters. You can go read the first one on your Main characters appearance here.

How your MC appearance matters.

 

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When we read a picture of the MC is built into our heads. Now the trick in writing is getting yourself to understand your character and sometimes deciding how he looks can help because it makes you ask fundamental questions about both your character and story.

 

In what time frame does your story take place.

You have to decide this before you can truly decide how your character look.

 

In what social class is your MC.

Different  social classes has different things that is expected to be proper. The rich lady can afford to buy gem covered dresses while the street child would be lucky if his brown shirt fits him properly.

 

What your MC occupation is.

The smith will wear a leather apron while the rich merchant might carry with him a gold cane.

Peoples clothes must not get in the way of their job and is often suited to help with it.

 

Who lives with your MC.

Your MC might be a poor boy who lives with his grandmother. depending on what kind of Character she is she might try her best to keep his clothes in good condition even though they are hand me downs.

Things like this can add a bit of deepness to your MC which piled with all the other small details become important.

 

 

Working in layers

In art you get shadows and light.

In writing it’s a bit more complicated.

 

You have dozens of elements in writing that needs to be well layered.

By layered I mean that you need to decide how something is seen when looking from afar and deciding what it is when coming closer.

It feels like I’m not making myself very clear today but there will be more information if you keep reading.

 

Thing that should be layered.

  • Your main character.
  • Your mentor.
  • Your closest side characters or allies.
  • Your plot
  • At least one of your side plots.
  • It’s not a must but you can add layers to setting.

 

Main Character.

Your main character is the person your reader should connect with in a story and this could only happen if they know him in depth.

This means that your main character need to be human with flaws and failures as well as strengths and ability. Your character should have human emotions during situations which should often shock the reader. Revelations about this character should be hinted about early on but not revealed until the right time.

 

Mentor.

Your mentor is the person who teaches your MC how to overcome what ever lies between them and the story goal.

In the beginning your MC and your mentor probably doesn’t know each other that well and if they’ve know each other a wile before the story secretes are revealed and suddenly the Main character doesn’t know the mentor as well as he thought. Although your mentor will seem more heroic then your MC he will still have his human moments in which you can explain his past and such.

 

Side characters.

Side characters often surprises the reader.

You can only share things about this character as the MC learns it.

 

Plot.

Your plot will always have things happening from your villains side that your MC doesn’t know about.

Often the different character’s secretes have an effect on the plot and change the direction of the story completely.

 

Side plot.

Your side plots intertwine with the main plot and effects the course of the story.

Side plots normally start out as one thing but ends up being something else entirely.

 

Setting.

Setting starts out as what you see but if it is important to the story it’s history will be brought up and so forth.

 

I might  do individual post on each of these between my regular stuff.  So sorry it isn’t explained well this time but just keep coming back and you might just find explanations of some value. 🙂