Do you have problems with your Fictional Character? Or is it that the story doesn’t seem to have any real meaty scenes?
These tips on writing Character in Fiction are what I use to keep my writing moving along without having to stop for too long.
A character can only be any good in the story if he or she encounters Conflict. No conflict means no story. So, where does the conflict come from?
Your characters create conflict. They can only do that if you have really created them and their inner lives very well. You need to have a deep knowledge of your characters and know all about their Fears and Loves and hates and likes.
Many of the books on writing tell you that you should find out what your character is afraid of. That will create conflict. How can you know what a character is afraid of without knowing what sort of life they have led?
Characters must have a history that you can refer to in order to know how they will react in any given scene or situation. Write about their past, how they were brought up, did they have both parents? Did they have a happy childhood or was it full of pain and conflict. Childhood memories affect the psyche of a person even in adulthood. Those experiences will determine to a certain extent how a character views the world and therefore reacts to the things happening in it. The bad things that happened in childhood are, in adult life, fears to overcome. the fear of physical punishment, the fear of being found out or revealed in public as a liar or a fake. Your character needs fear so that they can learn to overcome them and grow. You don’t have to have a character who is afraid of wild animals or guns and loud noises, but if you do think about how that fear developed in the first place. The character wasn’t just born with it, something happened in the past and since that day she’s had this fear of snakes and guns. Fear, is enough. It can be something big and it can be something very personal and hidden, hidden is better as it will be brought out in certain situations and create tension and conflict in a scene.
When I’m writing I am constantly referring to my character history that I have written. I write a basic idea of character before the start and then as I go along ideas pop up that could be useful additions to the character’s history.
Your character isn’t alone in the story world, they have to meet and talk and conflict with other characters. If the characters are all very similar, you’ll have a hell of a time creating conflict because they’re all going to want to sit down and have a party together. They’ll like each other and naturally won’t feel like shooting, chasing or arguing with each other. Nobody but a low-life steals from a friend, so don’t make your Protagonist and Antagonist too similar. Create them so that they can meet and communicate about things, but make them be different in their beliefs and especially in their desires and goals. This is called Orchestrating characters.
Think deeply about your two main characters. The Protagonist and the Antagonist mustn’t be totally opposite to each other. Poles apart means they will not come into contact in a realistic way. In Fiction as in life, two people who live very different lives have nothing in common and will never meet because of this. There must be certain habits or character traits that make the Goody and the Baddy cross paths in the course of their story, when they do conflict will occur and story will happen.
Remember these points.
Conflict drives a story forwards.
Characters must have fears and desires in order for ‘life to happen’. Life is constant conflict.
Write a character history and add to it as you write the story.
Don’t make the history develop into a story in itself. Be strict and only write pertinent ideas.
Make Protagonist and Antagonist have different Desires and Fears, but make them similar in certain ways. They must feel they understand something about the other.