When creating characters we must remember to ensure that each character acts and responds true to their given personality. Character profiles are a good way of ‘getting to know’ our characters. Here are a few examples but obviously you can tailor make your own depending on your genre.
With such a guideline our characters become clearer. A lot of the details will never reach the pages of our manuscript but knowing our characters well makes for a more believable personality as they struggle through the trials and tribulations we subject them to. As most of you know I am a ‘free flow’ writer so everything is by the seat of my pants until the editing starts. This is where I find character flaws or great character traits that I can correct or build upon. My characters live with me during the writing process and usually lead me in directions I had never considered – I’m sure many of you can relate to that. As these personalities gain strength they become more ‘real’ and that is the moment their true selves appear.
Do you have any tips regarding character profiles or character building?
Feign – definition 1) to give a false appearance of: induce as a false impression 2) to assert as if true: pretend
The obvious link to writers is, of course the creation of our imaginary worlds, characters and plots. We excel in creating ‘falseness’ to weave our stories and make our readers believe that our characters are not only real but are in the depths of struggles they have to overcome. Some characters will be quickly categorized as good or evil, handsome or plain but as the architect of the story these too can be false.
A seemingly charming gentleman could be a swindler; a delicate young woman may hide a dark secret…these false impressions are useful tools in capturing our readers, in essence luring them into the character so they identify with them either positively or negatively. Their true nature can be revealed gradually or as a dramatic event at the height of your story arc.
I have such a character in one of my novel’s, The Twesome Loop. He is outwardly a charming, suave gentleman but it is all an act. He came from a poor family, took elocution lessons to rid himself of his local accent and only works at the solicitors offices in the hopes of ‘bagging’ himself a rich widow amongst the will’s and estate documents that pass over his desk. I’ll not spoil the story but let’s just say his ‘perfect’ life doesn’t go quite as planned.
It is these ‘false’ presumptions that make our tales not only interesting but give an insight into human behavior – if it is human’s you are dealing with! Even paranormal beings have perceived character types as well as flaws. To be successful in creating a false world, we have to formulate our own specific rules for that realm. Another of my novel’s, Life in Slake Patch, has men and women living in separate compounds with ‘married’ couples only allowed Sunday’s for visiting. It seemed quite a simple basis for a new world order until I began the task of the practicalities. Attention to these kinds of details, even if they are not apparent in the story make our falsehoods even more believable.
Have you created a ‘complicated’ realm or character that required more than the usual falsehood of the storyteller?