When I wrote my blog in May, 2017, “HOW TO BUILD A FICTIONAL CHARACTER,” I promised more on the subject of bringing characters to life. Today, we will cover the character driven story.`
First: Decide whether to create your character from inside out (first person) or outside in (third person). If writing in the first person, you have access to your character’s appearance, thoughts and events. If writing in the third person, the reader is detached from the character and relies on others for information.
When introducing all characters, especially your main character, your Second action is to apply the five W’s: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY and WHERE. Remember, every character has a purpose; is driven by circumstances, and wants something. If the five W’s do not apply to all characters, consider not naming or omitting them entirely. (Characters do think, feel and act, like real people.)
WHO is your character—male or female, age, occupation?
WHAT is the purpose, need, or circumstance?
WHEN does your story begin—year, period of time?
WHY is character taking the course of action?
WHERE does your story take place?
Other traits to consider when introducing characters: Is your character capable of surprise, or disappointment? Are your main characters convincing or always not clear about what he or she wants?
When working I n the first person, because you have access to a character’s thoughts and actions, you can create a rich, imaginative, person—observing their every move and reaction. Hint: In describing appearance, why not give your character one distinguishing feature—one your reader can relate to.
EXAMPLE: “When first we meet, I tend to give the impression of weakness and vulnerability, but once you know me, you will find I am a strong- and resilient individual, determined to have my own way.”
When writing in the third person, you introduce your character by reporting a first impression given by another. However, you can use the same dramatic descriptions of appearance and actions.
EXAMPLE: “When first meeting Alison, one would consider her weak and vulnerable, but later find she is of strong character, resilient, and determined to have her own way.”
I have used both first person and third person, and while I find third person easier, I love having control of the inner thoughts of my protagonist, something a person on the outside cannot see or feel.
Like this post, or have suggestions?—Send me your thoughts, and what you want to read next.
Blog –May, 2017: HOW TO BUILD A FICTIONAL CHARACTER
Happy writing, Paula