Friday, September 24, 2010

The Great Blogging Experiment - How To Write Compelling Characters

Thanks to Elana Johnson et al for hosting the Great Blogging Experiment. Participants are all asked to blog today about the same subject: How to Write Compelling Characters.

I didn't actually sign up for the experiment, but the subject is interesting enough that I'm going to blog about it anyway!

So, what makes characters interesting?

In my opinion perfect characters are just boring (and I don't personally know you?). I want to read characters who are flawed and human, who make mistakes and learn from them. It's as simple as that (I kid, it's not really easy).

After you create imperfect people to write about, show us all about them (you know, show, don't tell?) Help us understand them by challenging them and making them make dumb mistakes, then show us how they become better people because of it.

Making your characters compelling is kind of a 2-step process: create people with flaws and dreams and then give them challenging situations that allow them to evolve.

It sounds easy, but it really isn't. It's tempting to write perfect people, but that's just plain boring. Writing interesting characters, and writing in general, takes a lot of practice, but that's part of what makes it fun - coming up with new and fascinating people to write about!

So what qualities do you think make compelling characters? How do you approach writing them?


Rebecca E. said...

I think compelling characters come from having a bit of passion for something in them, so take a "standard" cop and make them say like stuffed bunnies, and you've got instant complelling characters!

chief scribe said...

I consider my own flaws first and use two or three of them in my characters. This helps me to build good characters quickly and effectively.