A to Z Challenge 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Personality

One thing that makes a character memorable is a great personality.  In the dating scene, that might mean you attract others.  In writing however, a great personality has to do with how easily the reader can see our character and match that up with the words they use, the actions they take, and who they are.  Being an evil person doesn't necessarily mean the character doesn't have personality; they just have a particular type of personality that hopefully is in line with who they are supposed to be.

As I work on improving my own writing, one tool that has really helped me get a better idea about my characters are biographies.  I have only recently started doing this type of thing, but I've found it so much easier to choose the words a given character might use in conversation or describe the clothes they wear.  I can more easily see the mannerisms my main character has that makes his love interest laugh.  For example, the way his clothes always look like an unmade bed even though his hair has to be combed just so.  These little imperfections help describe the personality that makes these people unique.

One other factor is how personality might change over the life of the story.  Writers talk about character growth, and changes in personality are an example of this.  Where there was once a completely insecure young man might later be a more confident hero everyone is cheering for.  That shy personality just won't work later in the story because everyone expects this change.  And the hero hopefully comes to an understanding about themselves, figuring out that this improvement isn't a bad thing.

How do you capture the personality of your characters on the written page?

5 comments:

Laura Marcella said...

Hello, Eric! Oh, I definitely agree with you. The best characters have the most dynamic personalities, either in a positive or negative way, doesn't matter. Characters are my favorite part of reading novels, so I strive to create characters with as much dynamism as the characters I love to read!

Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

M. J. Joachim said...

Details are so important in writing, and bringing your characters to life, because they have great personalities is too. Nice post.

Danica said...

I love the idea of looking at biographies to learn more about how to make your characters more real. I'm going to try it.

Jessica Peterson said...

Great post. Writing believable characters that the reader can relate to is so important, it's one of my greatest hurdles I have yet to vault over.

Have fun with the rest of a-z. :)

Matt Conlon said...

Hey. The place is gathering dust over here, and it's spilling into mine.

I'm allergic to dust! :)

Hope all is well with you and yours!