A Lesson by Novelist_2

Giving your character a great personality.


(This is a continuation of the course "Adding voice to your writing" so technically this is the 3rd lesson.)
In my last lesson 'character choices', I mentioned that you shouldn't have a shy, bashful character as your hero of the story. Reading back on that, I thought "What was I thinking?" (hey, writers make mistakes!) I think what I meant was that a character who is shy throughout the entire story should not become the hero unless they are going to change into a bolder personality. Anyway, now that I've made that clear, let's continue.
A characters personality should always be reflected in their name. I know I've said it before, but I just can't stress it enough. I mean, think about it, 'Bob' is NOT a very cool name, at least not in my book. So would you give the best character in your book a name like that? I think not. What I do is this- I develop my character/characters' personality/personalities first. I decide who will be the 'bad guy', the 'good guy', etc. And then I decide on the name.
A character should talk like their personality. What I mean by this is a nerdy character shouldn't be talking like a cool person, etc. Also, a character should dress like their personality, although that's pretty obvious. Lastly, characters need EMOTION! Have you ever read a story where you almost felt the same emotions as the character, you felt the sympathy, the anger, the joy That is what you want in your story. Describe that burst of joy your character is feeling. Or maybe they're feeling down, and possibly even in despair. Whatever the emotion,whatever the reason, describe it as your character would. Like I've said before, get inside your characters' head(s)!


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Posted 5 Years Ago

I'm currently reading a novel featuring a protagonist named Bob; the novel is a supernatural thriller, and the character is an agent for the British government... Sometimes giving a character a blatantly "cool" name backfires, because it looks contrived (which it is, but you don't want it to LOOK that way).

"Also, a character should dress like their personality" - The character should dress like the personality they want to be seen as having - just like real people do.

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Added on May 21, 2011
Last Updated on May 21, 2011

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Hello, I am Novelist, but it's complicated, and for some reason I can't log in to that account! I will be continuing my course "Adding voice to your writing" on this account! :)