A Writing Journey – Characters

I’ve been working (I use this term loosely) on a novel for a while now. I have the general concept, but fleshing out the details and trying to write it is a whole other beast.

One of the things I focus most on in writing is characterization. I care about my characters because they’re the ones that play out the story. Unfortunately, creating multi-dimensional, developing characters is difficult.

I thought the most important character to develop was the main protagonist, but as I worked on fleshing her out, I realized that she is incomplete without her relationships with others. Thus, throwing me into the conundrum of figuring out everyone else.

All characters have individuality. Distinct aesthetics. Quirky personalities. Personal motives and desires. Favorites. Simply put, characters in a story are composites of the different people we encounter in our lives. And what’s one truth about people? They’re complicated!

My novel requires different dynamics: family/home, friendships, romantic relationships, school. Each of these situations and relationships elicit different parts of us. We don’t necessarily behave the way we do at home at school. We don’t act the same way with friends as with strangers. Not to mention the different tensions between certain people.

Now, it’s easy to create a character if I just TOLD you about them.

She’s a tomboy.

He’s selective about the people with whom he associates.

The above sentences help the characterization of characters, but that’s not interesting to read. It leaves a lot for interpretation, and at the same time, it’s so empty. I don’t want to create characters that I wouldn’t want to give any time reading about. I also don’t want to fall into cliche character tropes.

After this struggle working with authenticity, I’ve decided to work on the minor and peripheral characters in hopes that they will help me develop my protagonist in her best capacity.

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