Your character wants to live!
One of the most important pieces of building a plot for your novel is creating 3-dimensional characters.
If you have the main characters in your mind, sort of like a hologram, you add a dimension to your story that otherwise might not materialize.
You need more than just hair and eye color or gender.
Someone once said, “Give them a limp and an eye patch.”
Each character needs identifiable distinctions.
In my novels, I have more than one or two characters. Of course, we have the protagonist and the antagonist. I also have several secondary characters. When you have an array of characters you expand the readers experience if you ‘fill them in’, so to speak. Think of it like a coloring book for your novel.
For instance, in my first three books, my main character is a spoiled high school female set in the 1920’s. She stamps her foot when she doesn’t get her way. She preens in the mirror. She has a sassy mouth and talks back to her parents. Yes, her hair is short and black and styled in the ‘bob’ of that era. Her skin is pale, she has large brown eyes. What sets her apart is her personality. Rebellious, defiant, smart mouthed. Speaks before thinking, manipulative. In a word, spoiled.
I try not to ‘tell’ the reader she is all those things, rather convey it in her actions.
In contrast, we introduce her mother, an imposing, severe woman. She wears shapeless dresses and ‘sensible’ shoes and her gray hair is pulled back in a bun. Her eyes are a lackluster brown.
We also, have our protagonist’s father. He sits low in his chair, shudders, he slinks after his wife like a cowed puppy. A weak, ineffectual man.
The point is we have characters with three distinct personalities and we show that in the very first chapter of the first book.
When you create a ‘personality’ for each character they become very recognizable throughout the book. You begin to look for that personality to reveal itself in each action.
I will be writing more about character building in the coming weeks. Take the time to build a 3-dimensional character and be consistent throughout your story. Your readers will thank you.
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