How to make a character

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How to make a character

Characters are the most important reasons for books, but they’re also hard to create. Some people are able to create characters out of their minds in split seconds, while others have a hard time. When creating a novel, you must focus on the three main topics:

1. Character

2. Personalities and Traits

3. Development and Obstacles

Without these main topics, you don’t have a story. Have you read a book that doesn’t have character development, or a plot? I have read a book like that before. The character development and plot was so horrifying I almost threw the book across the room. I don’t even know how it got published.  The characters were so boring I fell asleep and have no care what’s going to happened to them. Their development was pointless and it made no sense, actually there wasn’t even any development at all.

The first step is to create your character. Your character can look whatever you want. They could even look like you. Many authors make characters that look like them, while others go a different direction by creating characters from someone they know or to resemble an appearance they always wanted to have. However you have to be sure you get their age too. They could either be the same age as you, older, or younger. Even gender too. Some authors make characters with the same gender or the opposite. The characters can be anything you want, whether a human, mythical creature, or an inanimate object. It really depends on you.

If you’re a fantasy writer, you can make the characters unique like having red eyes with color changing hair. Make sure you don’t overdo their appearance. Just a few fantasy appearances like silver eyes, black hair, and gray skin. You can also add little trademarks like sharp teeth or pointy ears like a little imp. However, make sure you don’t go too far like making them gorgeously attractive. You don’t need to mention if your character is attractive. It really doesn’t matter. Do you want to keep on retelling that your main character is attractive in each and every chapter?  Heck, I can name a book that does that a lot and if you do that, your readers will get bored.

It also goes for magical powers as well. The powers of the character have to make sense. Look at Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Percy is the son of Poseidon and has water powers, but the rest of his powers also made sense too. He can speak to horses and fish, but his most main power is water, he can heal, breathe, and do anything with water. Also Poseidon is the god of the sea and he created horses. His powers make sense because he’s a demigod, half human and half god and a son of a sea god—an Olympian god for crying out loud. A child of the Big Three! Children of the Big three are powerful than the other children of the twelve Olympians (no offense). Anyway, look at the Percy Jackson characters. Nico di Angelo, son of Hades: Rise the dead, controls Underworld earth, travels through shadows, and eat pomegranate seeds. See his powers make sense!

When you create your characters, their powers have to make sense. It’s like having someone getting turned into a vampire and masters their temptations of blood and controlled their mind reading powers in one day. NO! It has to make sense, guys. What I do to my characters that I only give them a minimum of three powers. THREE! Because I don’t want to overdo it and I want their powers match their personality. Remember in any fantasy genre, the powers has to make sense and it needs to be explained why the characters have those powers. Besides, if you give your characters random powers because you wished you have those amazing powers, you’re turning them into annoying perfect people.

Other genres like historical or realism, you have to make sure their appearance is appropriate for their time. You can’t add anything fantasy related; red eyes, blue hair, purple lips; if you have a character from the Victorian era, they need to have dark to light hair, fair to dark skin, and wear dresses or suits. They have to speak in a polite manner, not someone from the twenty-first century. Have you seen or heard anyone from the Victorian era said, “What’s up, dude?” I don’t think so. If you are writing about a character from the twenty-first century, then they can talk like that. They have to dress in modern time; hoodie, t-shirt, and jeans. Don’t make them too stunning and have men or women running after them. I mean do you really see perfectly beautiful people anywhere, besides celebrities? If you do, then I would be in shock.

What really helped me to create characters is to draw them. If you’re an artist, then good for you, if not, then it’s okay. You really don’t have to draw. When I draw my characters, I think about what type of hair color, eyes, skin, and clothing that they’ll have. I first draw what type of hairstyle they’ll have. Long, short, parted, bangs, slicked back, and then decide the hair and skin color. The clothing is sometimes the tricky part. I usually think of my character’s personality before I draw their clothing. Like I said, everything depends on you. Some authors take the time to create their characters because they make their personality first. They want everything to fit the character so that way they know what to do with them.
Some authors, who can’t draw, just get a sheet of paper out and write down what kind of appearance they like, want, or just come up from the top of their head. After that, they choose what they want and see if it fits, if not then they try again. Creating a character can take time and planning. Sometimes personality comes first and then appearance or vice versa. You don’t have to rush anything. Just take your time and you’ll be fine.

Naming the character can be rough. Some authors use common names, while others use unique names, or names with meaning behind their character. Make sure it’s not a bad name like Lucy Star Diamond Ocean Periwinkle Johnson. Have you met anyone with that name? I don’t think so. If you’re a fantasy writer, you can create a fantasy name keep it nice, simple, but imaginary. For realistic, keep it simple, but make sure it’s a nice name.
The next step is character development. This is the hardest part that many authors have trouble with. Sure it may look easy, but it’s not. You have to plan out their personality. Are they serious, calm, hyper, or goofy? It’s also okay to put a lot of positive traits in them, but you have to even it out between the good and bad traits. Yes, you have to put negative traits in them. Without any negative traits, your character would just be annoying and your readers will get irritated. Make sure you even it out like yin and yang. You can also put your personality on your character; just remember to put negative traits.

In novels like Twilight (ugh), the main characters, even minor characters, have only positive traits and fabulous appearances. The only negative traits I find in Bella Swan is that she is annoying. Pure annoyance. She doesn’t have any flaws besides clumsiness and ironically, it was never showed in the novel. Have you even noticed that her name means beautiful swan? In the novel she calls herself unattractive, but all of the men went after her. Pay attention to this my fellow readers. If you’re mentioning a flaw, make sure this flaw happens a lot in the novel or else the readers will believe that they don’t have any flaws.

Make sure your character isn’t a Mary-Sue or Gary-Stu. What’s a Mary-Sue and Gary-Stu, you asked? Well a Mary-Sue is a fan fictional character that has no flaws whatsoever! That’s goes to the Gary-Stu too. They’re perfect and annoying. Here are the common things that authors do when they turn their character into Mary and Gary Stus. They based off a character off of themselves (it’s alright to do that, but don’t overdo it! We don’t want a look alike.). No significant flaws except possibly ones the other characters find cute. Every character thinks they’re beautiful except for the bad guys. Every single character (the same sex or not) falls in love with the character in any contact whatsoever. Lastly, they don’t have any significant growth, change or development throughout the story. If you want an example read Twilight.

In your novel when your character is going through obstacles, you have to make their development of how they were in the beginning and later grow in the story. The character also has to learn of what they experience along the way and they have to make mistakes. Without mistakes, they don’t learn anything. A lot of authors always put their characters at the bottom and work their way up, while some were at their highest point, but went rock bottom, but eventually, they work their way back up again. There has to be a lot of problems in the novel or else there’s no character development. If you don’t have any obstacles, then what the heck are your characters doing? Being a damsel in distress? No, you have to make your characters suffer no matter what. If they died in the end of the book, then they die. If they don’t, then good for them. Plan out of how they’re going through their development and obstacles.  Remember, your characters are tools, not real life people. Even if they’re based on real people, (like friends and family), they’re fictional and you still have to make them suffer. Kill the characters too, kill them off. Kill any characters, even if it’s the protagonist. Your protagonist has to feel the emotions of what it’s like to lose someone they hold dear to them. They have to experience pain. If not, then you’re being delusional. In reality people die every day, friends and family. If your character can’t experience death of a love one, then what can they experience? Yes, they can experience pain and suffering from something else, but if they experience death, it makes them a better character because of how they handle it. They could commit suicide, go into a mental breakdown, break down crying, or anything you can think of. Every obstacle you create and the development of each character that you make is important. If your characters don’t develop or learn through experience of their obstacles, then why are you writing a book?

Look at famous authors like Stephan King, J.K Rowling, and J.R.R. Tolkien! They work hard on their novels until it was published. Stephan King was about to give up on his first novel Carrie, but his wife forbid him that. He listened to his wife and look what happened. Carrie was a big success and the characters are amazing. J.K Rowling was a rejected by thirteen publishing companies, until one small publisher took her novel and then Harry Potter was a bestseller. The characters are well-rounded and each character even the minor ones went through many hardships. Also Rowling wasn’t even afraid to kill off her characters too. Even though Tolkien died years ago, but his work of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings is still known to us today. His characters are well-developed and each of them has many flaws. It took him twenty years just to write the trilogy and it was the best fantasy book ever known.

You can also be like them if you have a good plot and characters. Don’t copy them because that’s plagiarism. So take out a piece of paper and begin to create your character. Have fun!

This is how to make characters.

I'm sorry if you're a fan of Twilight, but this is an example I came up with. If you don't like it, then don't read the Twilight parts then. Also, I do respect your opinions about that book, but it's also my opinion too. Bash on my opinions, I delete your comment. If you don't like what I said about Twilight, DON'T COMMENT!

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Georgeandasword's avatar
Thank you for the advice, this is going to be very useful!!! I'm working on a story myself!