When creating characters I think most writers understand that they need to think about them in terms of physicality and personality.
After all your reader needs to have a vague notion of their looks and attitudes in order to connect to them.
I have covered some basics in Character Creating so feel free to have a gander at that tutorial.
Now, there is another aspect you need to consider when creating characters. They are made more by the company they keep. Characters do not live in isolation, (unless you are writing about he last man on earth or some weird hermit lady living in a cave a million miles from anyone… but let’s assume you’re not ok?) but they are often created as isolated beings. We see them singly and build them up.
However we need to think about them in groups.
Take yourself for example – you will have family, friends, teachers or bosses, work colleagues, carers, neighbours, the guy who fixes your car, the lady who runs your groceries through the checkout etc.
Each of these people or groups of people will interact with your differently. You may treat one group with a deep affection, whereas another may get nothing more than a passing courtesy. Some will be authoritative and others not so much. Some, you may do anything for, while others you may be less inclined to give them anything.
Our lives are built on interactions, on connections with other people and we change depending on who we are dealing with, who we are working with, speaking with…
In a novel this host of characters will shape each other. Your main protagonist and antagonist will be moulded not just by their appearance, personality, conflicts, struggles and goals, but by those around them.
Consider the intricacies of interaction, how we change with them, how to react differently to different people over the same issue.
This is not just about adding some background colour to your story, but about fleshing out the reality of it.
So next time you consider your characters, think about them with their friends and family, their neighbours, their mechanic, their doctor, the homeless man they pass every day…. look for some realism that can come from this.
After all you will have a wealth of knowledge and experience throughout your own life about how people can interact differently.
I did mention the whole hermit lady and last man on earth. Now let’s be honest there are stories and movies that focus around one sentient character. So if you decided to write something like this, how would you create interactions?
What appears to be a typical method (especially in movies) is the creation of something to interact with.Here are three examples:
Take Moon, the character is Sam Bell an Astronaut coming to the end of a 3 year project on the moon. He is alone except for a computer system called GERTY. So in essence the computer became his only interaction. Even from this, you see a distinct reactionary process of how the two interact.
Then we have Castaway with Tom Hanks, a man who ends up on a deserted island after a plane crash. Even here an interaction is created (albeit with himself) when he creates the character Wilson from a volleyball.
However this allows a focus and thus gives him an interaction. In reality he is simply talking to himself but by creating this external character he is able to alleviate the crippling loneliness while also being able to evaluate and discuss his situation as if with another person.
So even in these single-character driven stories the inclusion of non-sentient beings whether external (GERTY) or created internally (WILSON) allows another form of interaction.
Just something to think about
Hopefully your characters are becoming well developed, solid structures within your story 🙂
As always if you enjoyed this or any of my other posts, please follow this blog I upload new posts on Friday at 18:30 BST
If you are new to this blog then do check out my Tutorial List page where all my writing posts are listed in categories and with links for quick and easy access. I don’t write in any particular order, I’m not THAT organised. So scroll through as you will find links all the way through the page.
Note: Photo purchased through Depositphotos.com (supporting other creatives) 🙂