Creating characters is my absolute favourite part of the writing process. I thrive on the sheer number of paths you can take to create just one character with their personalities, traits, quirks, wants and needs, back stories – the list is endless! But dreaming up one isn’t just about hair length, eye colours, if they are left handed or right handed. They need to be more than their physical presence, and I know not everyone may think that an infinite number of ideas is as much fun, so let’s take a look at a couple things that can be considered when you’re creating a character.
What is the most important thing about this character that you want people to notice?
A character both carries and is carried by everything that happens within your story. That means all eyes will be trained on them, and people are going to analyze what role they have in the novel in their own way. As a writer, there should be one caveat that you want people to take notice of with your character. Maybe they’re crazy stubborn, maybe they’re a fire-breather in the circus, or perhaps they have werewolves for family. As a reader, we will always draw our own conclusions – writing is an art form, and everyone can interpret art differently. But having that one unique thing about your character is known for cements themselves in a reader’s mind, which is just one way of keeping them wanting more.
How are they relatable to the reader?
It genuinely does not matter what genre you are writing – if your character isn’t relatable to the reader, there’s a good chance they’re not going to click with the rest of the story. That’s not to say that every character needs to be, but having something that can relate to a topic in the real world will draw your audience in even more to the story will entice them to learn more, read further. And it can be big or small things: maybe the MC lost their dog in a blizzard, perhaps they’re a part of an underground gang, or what if worship of a pantheon of deities is big in their culture? It all depends on what you want to make of it.
When it comes down to it, you, as the writer, are going to do what works for both your writing style as well as your story. There is no right or wrong way to create a character, but there is a defining line that will help draw people in and want more from you. It’s all about how you use it.