Thursday, 30 October 2014
Creating a main Character
Two more big sleeps before the word nerds (yup, that includes me) start banging away on their keyboards in the quest to drop 50000 words on the hard drive in 30 days.
My goal today is to complete my main characters bio. It will be a comprehensive description covering every aspect of his life. Yes, my MC is a guy.
In order to bring a character to life in the minds of the reader it is important for the writer to create a character in depth before words inflate their lungs and give them life. It includes, the obvious stuff such as name, age, height, weight, colour of eyes and hair, etc. It could include a date of birth, the fact that he doesn't like carrots, keeps tooth picks in his car, is allergic to cats, only ever wears lace up shoes and is a fastidious dresser.
Small details like having 2 sisters, a widowed mother who he visits every second Thursday, enjoys online chess and has his suits dry cleaned every second week add depth. He might not currently be in a relationship but the details of his past relationships should be detailed. How long, why did they end, how were they terminated?
What is his personality like? Maybe he doesn't suffer fools gladly, perhaps he is long suffering. Is he sensitive or not. Is he opinionated. Does he squeeze the tooth paste tube from the end or the middle.
While most of this detail will never be revealed in the story it helps the writer to deliver a person who responds in accordance with his world view shaped by past experiences and prejudices. Just like a real person would.
We as individuals often reveal different facets of ourselves dependant on the situation we are in. Our boardroom persona may and should differ significantly from the person who dresses up as a clown to entertain his 2 years olds friends at a birthday party. However, no mater what facet is in view, the underlying gem is still the same. Warts and all.
Readers expect their heroes to be consistent. Failure to define and deliver a consistent and believable character will result in the reader disconnecting and interest in the story line drying up.