We are returning to some ways to build a great character, a believable character. In the last post I wrote about some ways to brainstorm for your characters. Questions to ask about your characters, and of course the always important, researching your characters.
Now what about the deep inner life of your characters? Do you really need that? Sure, you’re building human beings (and other creatures) out of words. You want your readers to be lost in a world that you created. You want them to put down your book, and forget where they are for a few seconds as they adjust back to their own reality. You want them to believe your characters. One way to do that is to give your characters inner life, dreams, a backstory, and supporting characters that are just as real.
The inner workings, relationships, supporting characters and backstory
The inner workings of your character
- Were there any traumatic incidents in your characters past that may affect their present behavior? Are there good influences from the past that may affect their present behavior?
- What are the unconscious forces that are driving your character? How do those forces affect their motivations, actions and goals?
- Is your character too nice, too bland, too normal, too bad? Is there anything abnormal about them? How do their abnormalities cause conflict with other characters?
- Is there conflict between the characters? Is the conflict shown through the action, attitudes or values?
- Is there contrasts between the characters? What is different between them?
- Do they have the potential to transform each other?
- Will the reader understand why they would be together? Is the attraction clear? Is the impact they have on each other clear?
The Supporting Characters
- Do the characters have a function in the story? What is the function? What is the theme of the story? How do the supporting characters help the theme?
- How did I create my minor characters did I give them enough attention? If I used types did I avoid the stereotypes?
- Do I have contrasting characters? Do they add texture to the story?
- How have I defined the supporting characters and the minor characters?
- Do I have villains? What are their backstories? What drives them? Is there a good that they pursue but use evil actions to get that good?
- Is my work with backstory a process of discovery?
- Does the backstory unfold in the story?
- When giving backstory am I only giving information that is relevant to the story?
- Am I writing the backstory in short sentences that can reveal within the action of the story or am I heading off into tangents?
That should give you enough to work with.