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Every character starts out with a blank slate, kind of like a baby. His or her personality is formed through the hardships faced, the ways he thinks, the way he reacts, the way he gets what he wants.
The physical appearance of your character is important, but even more important are the events that have made your character like he is. It isnít necessary to write a biography of your character, but it is necessary to know a few things about his life.
Your characters need to be real people with wants, hates, loves, desires, anger, resentment and so forth. I donít want to read a book where the characters are all perfect, nor does anyone else I know of.
Every character, fictional or real, has a compelling need. One compelling need just about every human has is money. Not an unusual need, but a necessary one. How else will the bills get paid? The question is, how far will your character go, what will he do to ensure that he receives money? Will he turn to a life of crime? Will he deceive others? Does he just need money to pay his bills, or does he need money because he is hooked on drugs? He could have an expensive habit, one that frequently requires large sums of money.
Or the compelling need could be the friendship of a certain person, a person who seems impossible to get close to. And why would your character desire the friendship of this person? Once again, could it be money? Could it be drugs?
Once youíve come up with something that your character would do almost anything to get, other questions will pop up about that need. The answers to these questions only serve to make your character more realistic.
Now that youíve decided on your characterís compelling need, what does he do for work and for play? Give him a job of some sort, whether he is paid for it or not. If your story takes place in the past or in a different part of the world or universe, the jobs could be different from those available here on earth.
What does he do to enjoy himself? Remember, work and play are not the same for every person and are looked upon in different ways by different cultures. But just about every person finds some way to pass the time in an enjoyable manner.
Now is the time to give the life of your characters some depth. Pick out important moments in their lives - times challenges were faced and he failed, or maybe he succeeded. The impact the death of a family member had on his life. Maybe he was witness to a murder and was scarred by it permanently. Ask some questions about the past. Donít be afraid to give your character obstacles to overcome. Your character's life wouldn't hold much interest if he never had any obstacles in the way of him achieving his goals.
What is going on with your character in the present? Has an event occurred that brought drama into his life? How does he feel about important issues? Would he ever turn to crime? Would he ever betray those close to him?
What are his dreams for the future?
Who are his friends? Enemies? Lovers?
What are his religious beliefs? Is he afraid of death?
What are his moral beliefs?
Answer the questions that pertain to your characterís place in the story and you will find that he or she becomes more alive to you and to your readers.
To learn more on creating believable characters, I highly recommend Holly Lisleís Create A Character Clinic. I have provided a link below for you to purchase this book from Holly Lisle, if you so desire.
Create A Character Clinic, by Holly Lisle
Content copyright © 2013 by Lisa Binion. All rights reserved.
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