Writer’s Corner: Character Counts

Welcome to the Writer’s Corner!

Today we’re going to talk about character. You can have the best plot in the world, the best dialogue, the best idea all-around, and none of that will matter if people don’t care about your characters. You must remember that any and all the characters you put on the page are only a tiny facet of your personality. In order to make them memorable, you’ll have to put in a little work.

  • Internal Conflict: We all have moments in our lives where we have that little angel on one shoulder and that little devil on the other. Your characters should, too! The decisions they make based on their conflicting desires defines who they are and people can connect with that. Everyone has had moments in life where they feel conflicted by a decision. If your character has this internal conflict the reader will flock to it.
  • Backstory: Everyone has a background. Your square-jawed hero or your dauntless heroine must have one as well. this is what defines their current perspective of the world where they live. Did something happen to them in their childhood making them hate clowns? As a teenager where they abducted by aliens? The point is to make sure they have a past that has influenced their present. It gives the character weight and depth.
  • Emotions: Everyone has them and if the only thing your character ever displays is cunning confidence, you have a boring ass character. What does your character fear? What do they love? What makes them nervous and vulnerable? These little quirks of emotion will draw in your audience because we all experience the same self-doubt.
  • Flaws: This is, without a doubt, one of the most important parts of character building. Perfect is boring and two-dimensional. I want to read about characters that struggle with mental illness, addiction, and poor judgment. These types of flaws lead you deeper into the rabbit hole of your story and your audience will follow if they identify with the character.
  • Give them a time to shine: Defining moments make or break a character. They must overcome something other than the antagonist. How boring is it if your main character doesn’t learn anything or change? It’s just not realistic and you’ll destroy reader immersion. They must overcome a flaw or fear and fundamentally change their perspective in some way by the end of your story. The character must grow.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to know your characters.

You don’t have to flesh out the supporting characters as thoroughly but you still need to make them “real.” Pro Tip: If you want to find out more about your character, interview them. Come up with a set of questions and answer them how your character would. Another tip is to write them in a short story about a moment in their lives. Get into the head of your imaginary people and you’ll be amazed at how your character grows!

Remember, Writer’s Corner is about putting information into effect and making your story and character better.

Don’t just read the article. Apply it! Make up a character and interview them to see how it works for you. Share in the comment section if you feel inclined.

I’ve got a lot of new hotness happening here on the site.

My services tab now has everything from Writer Services to WordPress Hosting. These are, of course, still in a state of development and pricing, description of services, and new services are sure to change. You can still buy any of them though if you have a need and we’ll work together to solve your writing issues. Oh, and if you’re a Full Sail Student or Alum, I’m offering 50% off my writer services and 15% off of hosting purchases. Be sure to contact me at service@joeforrest.com before placing any orders.

You’ll also notice on the sidebar a few new things.

  1. The blogroll is live! I hope to keep adding to this so if you have a site you would like on there and it’s pertinent to writing, just hit me up. I’ll give it a look and if it’s I enjoy it and find it helpful I’ll put it on the blogroll. Just submit your link, give me a brief description, and I’ll give it a look.
  2. You can also check out my fave links. These are just products I use or sites that I think are awesome sauce. You should give them a look. More will be added as I go along.
  3. There’s a new sign up form for email updates. I’ll be sending discount codes for my writer’s services and hosting along with updates and new posts on the site. If you like anything about this page I recommend you sign up. I’m not going to spam inboxes on the daily, so don’t worry about that.
  4. My Facebook Page feed is on there. Sometimes I post some interesting stuff over at my Facebook Page, so I threw on a plugin, Custom Facebook Feed by Smash Balloon. It’s really good and I recommend it.

I also made the acquaintance of Amanda Jones.

You may not have heard of Amanda…yet. She just released her first novel, Dark Angel. It’s chock full of supernatural romantic urban fantasy. If you like the works of Laurell K. Hamilton or Chuck Wendig, I think you’ll really dig Amanda’s stuff. She hails from the Great North of Canada and I think she’s got the stuff. I’m not sure what stuff but it seems like it’s probably good stuff. So, go check out her good stuff.

That’s all for this week.

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Use your words