Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Writing a good story Part VII- Characters

Characters are the main body of a story. Sure, there is the Story Line, and the setting, but a story can get boring when it has not characters, something for the audience to relate to.

To build your characters you have to have some important criteria. It’s just like real life. In my previous post, I mentioned how dialogue can be based upon real life. The same with characters. In real life, you assess people, characters. You determine whether they are your friends, or not. You have to make this happen for your readers. You have to either let the readers decide whether your character is their friend, or you have to let them know that they are your friend. If you want your character to be a good person, make them do things that you think someone you think is good in this world would do, but do not make them to good. However, if you are writing a crime story, the most common thing to do is make the killer seem really good. Someone so good they would not kill someone, and then reveal how they did it OR make a character so mean and evil that your readers hate them so much that they believe that they did the crime, and then reveal the didn’t. That is just something I have picked up from reading crime fiction.
Anyway. Characters also have to have a profile. There are two types of books. One that outlines the character- tells the reader what colour hair they have, their eye colour etc. The other is one that lets the reader choose. Now, I’m not saying that one is better than the other; it’s just that most famous authors let their readers know the profile of their character. Also, like I said earlier, readers get impressed if a minor detail form the beginning of the book is recalled at the end. This is easier done if the characters profile is created. Say, for instance, you are writing a crime book (sorry for all the crime references, I’ve just been reading Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple!) and you mention that the character has black hair, and they are the killer. Now, obviously, you don’t let your readers know that the black haired person is the killer, you just know this yourself. Anyway, you mention this person’s hair colour at the start of the book, and then at the end, you find a strand of hair that is black. That is not only a link to a minor detail at the start of the book, but could also help your storyline. Bring you more suspects. This is the great thing about Crime Fiction.

Three things

·      Build your characters
·      Make your character relatable
·      Make your audience know whether the character is good or bad- you are the writer, you make the decisions.

R.J.C. Mills