Guest Author - Caroline Coleman
The trick for creating a short story is to come up with a dramatic plot with quick development. Still, the readers have to empathize with the character as well. But how do you create such a memorable protagonist, if you have a limited number of words to describe him or her?
You have to spend a considerable time working on and building your protagonist. You will need to include only a fraction of this information in the short story, but once you visualize and get to know the character, you will find it a lot easier to write the story. Furthermore, your audience will find it easier to picture this person in their head.
There are a number of questions that you have to ask yourself about your character. Make a short list with details, such as gender and ethnicity. Then think of the name of your character, their age and job. Where do they live? How do they look? It is important to answer the latter question in greater detail. Think of features such as face shape, eyes, nose, hair, posture, height and even weight.
The next step is to come up with additional facts about the protagonist’s life. These will help you build their personality more easily. Is your character single or married? Do they have any children? How about any pets? Does this person have an illness? What is the religion of the protagonist? Do they have any hobbies? Do they have friends? What are these people like? Does your character have a favorite food and what is it? How about a favorite color, car model or fashion designer? Does this person have any phobias? What are they?
As you can see, you are steadily getting to know this imaginary person. The final step of the creation of the character is to make them right for your plot. In order for the protagonist to be realistic, you need to give them a life with a past. Does the protagonist hate something or someone and why? Do they have strong memories that bother them? What are these memories? How about any secrets? Does your character have a past secret that they want to hide or a secret life?
Answering all these questions will make you create a believable character. Keep in mind that in your short story you have only four tools to describe the protagonist - appearance, action, speech and thoughts.