Creating multi-dimensional characters for your novel is probably the most important element to consider. Characters are the primary driving force around which your story is formulated.
His long, long hair wafted around him like black smoke, its tendrils curling and moving of their own volition. His cloak — or perhaps that was his hair too — shifted as if in an unfelt wind. – N.K. Jemisin
“The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. His hair was dark as the shadows of twilight, and upon it was set a circlet of silver; his eyes were grey as a clear evening, and in them was a light like the light of stars. – J.R.R. Tolkien
“If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it. He was twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild — long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of trash can lids, and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins.” – J.K. Rowling
I think we can all agree that the above character descriptions come from some of the best fantasy authors. When we think of Lord of the Rings, we immediately have a vivid description of all the different characters. You might not be working on a fantasy novel, but creating interesting characters in your romantic comedy or thriller are just as important. They might not have special powers or they might not be creatures, but they need to be real.
My acting experience has given me quite a bit of insight on creating a believable character. You need to dig deep and consider all facets, from your lead character right down to a character that only appears in one scene. Below is part of my character checklist you can use when creating your characters. If you would like the complete list, please either leave a reply with your email address or email me directly (check my contact page) and I will send it to you free of charge. I didn’t want to make this post too long (which the complete list would do).
- Her/his fundamental belief and philosophy about herself and the world?
- Does she/he have a job? Love or despise her work? What does she do for money if not?
- Her/his relationship with money?
- Is she/he wealthy/middle class or poverty stricken?
- Her/his living environment? Apartment? House? Trailer?
- Live alone? Roommates? Family?
- Married? Divorced? Single?
- What about her/his life is she most driven to change?
- Is she/he in love? If so, how long has she been with her partner? Healthy or troubled relationship?
- Ever suffered a broken heart?
- Is her/his sexuality a source of pride/power or shame?
- How does she/he behave around the opposite sex? Confident? Insecure?
- How does she/he behave around the same sex? Competitive? Arrogant? Talkative?
- Is she/he comfortable in her own skin?
- Has she/he ever betrayed/teased/embarrassed somebody?
- Has she/he ever BEEN betrayed/worshipped/embarrassed?
- What is the most important thing she/he has learned about herself and the world while growing up?
Once you have completed a checklist for each character, keep it close or stick it on your wall. You might not use all of your answers, but now you have something to refer back to.
As I have mentioned, this is only part of the checklist. Please email me for the complete list in PDF format.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Write well xx