Monday, June 17, 2024
Author Tips

How to build a strong character in a story

Creating a plot for your story is just the beginning of a number of challenges you may encounter when writing a book. After you’ve settled on a narrative for your novel, your next task is to develop your character.

This is where most of pressure on a writer emerges. Character development is not for the faint of heart. Many great novels have fascinating characters whom readers can hardly forget, thanks in a major way to the powerful way through which they have been developed.

And they must be easily relatable to readers. Here are some of the effective techniques to build your character:

Name your main character early in the story

Introducing your character early in the book is crucial if he or she is to make a lasting impression on your readers. Your main character is the center of your book’s universe, so it ought to occupy the first place in your plot. Also, choose a name that reflects your character’s nature. Avoid melodramatic names that are hard to remember, as these will surely be easily forgotten by your readers.

Describe your character’s best features

After introducing your main character and giving it a name, your next task is to start giving him or her shape and form. This by no means requires you to go into minute details about your character’s hair color or the color of her eyes, for example, immediately. The best way to do that is to portray your character in a way that your readers will be able to form their own image of him or her. This is how they can relate to your character.

Provide a backstory

Nothing is more important in terms of developing your character than giving a backstory to it. This part is where you enrich the book’s plot with subplots about the main person in the story, sprinkling it with encounters that make your character’s life more interesting as the story plods along. Backstory includes events that took place before the events in your book have come to pass. This may include his or her childhood, birth, spiritual struggles, and many more that help shape the character into its current being.

Never portray a perfect character

Just like any human, your character must have his or her flaws, imperfections, and weaknesses. These are qualities that define a human, and without them your character will be difficult to identify with. Your readers need someone they can relate to, but make sure your character’s shortcomings are easy to forgive and understand.

Add some flavor of heroism to your character

Readers hate characters that fail all the time. So, as an author, your task is to give them someone who has flaws, but not without the traits of a champion. Of course, after a couple of failures, your character needs to rise to the occasion and beat the odds. this gives him or her some heroic traits that your readers will come to love in the end.

Jay Hogarth

Jay Hogarth is ARPress' resident content manager, responsible for all public-facing information posted on this blog and on the main site.

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