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MAKING YOUR CHARACTERS PERSONALITY BELIEVABLE

November 14, 2012

            There’s nothing more boring than having a hero with no personality. What’s the point of reading a story where the main character does nothing but go through the motions? Why care?

            The question comes down to how you draw each character. Do you pick random traits or do you model them after people you know? How do you come up with these traits? How do you explain them?

            For the good guys they should be likable and the bad guys despicable. Then again, that’s not the real world, which is full of gray.

            Meleena is the main character in my fantasy series. She’s a brat. Though she’s the hero and saves the day, she doesn’t do it alone. Sometimes things happen despite her. She’s been on her own since she was eight season cycles (years) old. She’s not someone to take kindly to orders. She has a bratty mean streak, though as her story unfolds, she discovers a hidden moral side.

            I recently read a chapter where she reacted badly to finding out news about something personal. The group didn’t think she should react that way. In other words, they didn’t believe it, even though that was exactly how I wanted her to behave. What I wrote didn’t convince them.

            They suggested I either change her personality, which I won’t do, or give her internal thoughts or dialogue with other characters to explain why she’s acting so irrationally. That I can do.

            I created personality issues with an already developed character (remember, this is the sequel) and didn’t pull it off very well. How about you? Do you have a character, whether good guy/girl or bad guy/girl with some personality trait that could raise an eyebrow? Is it something that would give readers a pause? For most common quirks this is nothing to worry about. However, what about a character that reacts violently to seeing someone spill a glass of water for instance? How about someone that freaks out when someone slams a door? If you don’t properly explain those quirks, give a cause for the effect, you could have a problem with your story.

            In my case, I can’t go into details without giving away a key element to my novel. I can say that I am not going to change Meleena’s issue as it is an ongoing key element, but I am going to explain it better. I’m so glad I have a group to read this to. Remember my mantra, forest through the trees! Add this one too it. Different sets of eyes and/or ears!

            Nothing in your or my story happens without a reason. You cannot leave anything hanging. Your readers will pick up on it. Even if they don’t, it’s excess baggage if it’s there for no other reason. Wasted verbiage. Clutter.

            Happy writing!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2012 4:49 pm

    Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Thanks!

    • December 28, 2012 2:26 am

      Steve,

      Welcome to my web site and thanks so much for the kind words! I hope you can get some useful or at least thought-provoking information from my ramblings! As for others with similar info, you can try my followers and also my links page. Another place you might be able to get good info is on the Absolute Write Water Cooler web site. There are a LOT of forums there by subject and the discussions can often be informative.

      Glad you stopped by! Feel free to comment on anything, anytime!

      Fred

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