How To Make Your Characters Come Across In The Right Way

By on August 18, 2016
How To Make Your Characters Come Across In The Right Way

Every writer knows that creating appealing characters is central to making a success of your story.

When it comes to characters there is lots to think about, you want your protagonist to be someone who your readers care about, but you need a whole host of other characters too - some who contrast with him or her and some who complement them.

You might feel that you know all there is to know about writing and developing interesting characters, however making sure that they come across in the right way can be tricky. It’s all well and good understanding what you NEED to do, but actually being able to do it is quite another.

So next time you are reading a book, really think about the way the characters are presented to you. How do you feel about them, do you think that’s the way the author meant them to come across? If your readers don’t see your characters the way you intended, then you could be in a whole lot of trouble from the start.

Making sure your readers get the right impression of your characters and react to them in the way we hope they will is difficult, but if you follow these tips, you have a far greater chance of succeeding.

Create balanced characters

For readers to like your characters, they can’t be too much one thing or another. If they are too happy, too confident, or too excitable, they will become annoying. If they are too dark, miserable and lonely, they will become depressing.

Readers relate to characters that they can identify with. Therefore they need to be interesting and good, but also flawed. Life should be tough for them, but they should stay positive and keep fighting against all odds - that way your reader will start rooting for them too,

Hero’s and Heroines

Every book has a hero or a heroine, a character that the readers want to succeed. However, if you make your hero too good to be true, readers are simply unable to connect with them. Don’t be tempted to write characters that are flawlessly good or perfect. If they aren’t flawed or imperfect in some way, your readers just won’t be able to relate. Don’t, however, let your main character be too defeatist, self-pitying or miserable for too long, you want your reader to empathise with them, but if they come across as self-indulgent and pathetic, this will turn your readers off even more.

Baddies and villains

Including an evil character in your story will create contrast and tension. Your hero has to fight against a character that is trying to get in the way of them achieving their goals.

Baddies and villains are great fun to write, but again, if you want your audience to be intrigued by them you might want to give them just a touch of humanity too. This technique is often used to make villains and baddies more three dimensional, and while you still want your hero to win, you can’t help but feel strangely sorry for the villain too.

Ensuring that your characters come across in the right way is so important. Often we are so immersed in our stories we can’t see that a character is becoming too much of something or another. Try getting a second opinion from a friend, colleague or professional. Ask them what they make of your characters, do they like them? Are they afraid of them, excited by them, inspired by them?

A fresh set of eyes can help you see how another person might interpret the actions and words of your characters in the wrong way, and if that is the case, you might want to revisit them and reevaluate how you make your characters come across.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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