Creating characters is one of the most important parts of writing. It reflects the quality of the work and gets readers involved and wanting more. However, it isn’t an easy thing to do. Here are a few of my own tips for when it comes to making lively and memorable characters.
- Physical Appearance: When people think of creating characters, they often think of the physical appearance of the character first. The best way to work with the physical appearance factor is using vivid vocabulary. Saying a character has brown hair is dull and boring. It’s flat and doesn’t even touch on the particular shade. What about saying a character has chestnut hair, though? Or hair the color of honey. Auburn hair comparable to the autumn leaves. Metaphors and similes are very welcome when describing a character’s appearance. It gives readers something to compare the physical traits to. And that’s only hair. What about emerald green eyes? Delicately tanned skin? Freckles like the stars in the night sky? The colorful language gives an element of life to the description. For more help on the particularly artistic element of physical design, I suggest watching this video by YouTube artist, LavenderTowne, who makes a few very good points on how to successfully design a character.
- Personality: It’s incredibly important to consider the personality of your character when describing or designing them. Are they innocent and naive? Stubborn? Proud? Childish? Mature? Shy? It’s important to let the reader know the character’s personality. While it may be tempting to describe the personality of a character directly, it’s often better to show it, rather than tell it. Don’t explain to a reader that your character is childish. Show it by making the character refuse to pick up after themselves, or have the character be a picky eater. If a character is mature, show how seriously they take things, like tasks given to them by others. Showing always works better than telling, but it’s especially important here.
- Backstory: The third main part of a well thought out character is his or her backstory. Now, it’s important to be cautious here, as backstories are often tedious and/or cliche. The best thing you can do is start with motivations. They don’t have to be your character’s motivations, if you don’t want that. They could be the motivations of others that simply affected your character. But backstories exist for a reason. Don’t just create one for the sake of a character having one. They don’t have to be overdone or extreme, either. Maybe a character comes from simple backgrounds, and now they’re moving onto something bigger. The contrast of the basic backstory and a more complex main story work out nicely.
- Uniqueness/Originality: The last thing you should know about creating a character is that he or she should be as unique and original as possible. Don’t be afraid to make a character your own. Personally, I think it’s fun adding elements of my own life into my characters. Don’t like tomatoes? Maybe your character doesn’t either. That’s the great part about having your character reflect elements of you or others around you. Everyone is unique, and that can flow through to your character, as well.
Here’s a character I drew a few weeks back. Her design is simple enough. Let me try to run through my list with her to give a sort of final example. She has rosy pink hair and nicely tanned skin. Her sea foam eyes are always shining. As you can tell by her demeanor, she’s a happy young girl, excited to be alive and just enjoying life in general. She may be a bit naive at times, though. Her backstory isn’t overly complicated. She’s from a simple kingdom and is setting out on a quest with her friends with no goals other than to have as much fun as possible while traveling through other kingdoms.
That’s basically it! I hope this helped out!