A little while ago, I was asked by Sabrina (of Books and Bark) and Kate (of Ravings of a Dead Poet) if I would be interested in taking part in a blog hop that they were planning. Now, I wasn’t actually too sure what a blog hop was, but, me being me, I accepted anyway! (Don’t worry, I know what one is now!
Kind of. Okay, maybe not.) The theme of the blog hop is character building, and so far, the topics of diversity and personality have been covered (Dunelleth’s hasn’t gone up yet, weirdly), and my topic is realistic characters!
Anyway, enough rambling now, I’m going to get on with this post! Care to join me?
Creating believable characters when writing is something that can be pretty hard to do, particularly in certain genres such as fantasy and sci-fi. Yet it is still one of the most important things to do in order to create a story that a lot of people will enjoy. In order to do this, though, I find that you need to ask yourself certain things about your character and their situation.
1. What is your character like personality-wise?
Linking in with Sabrina’s post, you always need to know your character’s personality when writing. For example, if you were to put a shy character in a situation where they were required to be extremely sociable with people they’d never met, you’d need to think how they would react. It wouldn’t be believable at all if they suddenly started talking to everyone they met as though they were best friends. Likewise, if you were to put a much more extroverted person in the same situation, you wouldn’t really have them hiding away in a cupboard or something.
2. What situation are you
forcing *ahem* placing your character into?
Let’s face it, us writers can be cruel to our
little babies characters sometimes. We put them in the worst possible situations that their poor little heads can’t quite get around, and that test them both physically and mentally. Heck, sometimes we even TORTURE them. Basically, writers can be quite a cruel species (although I do try to be nice to my characters).
The point is, characters probably aren’t going to be super-duper calm in a situation that tests them in any way, so don’t try and make out that they will be, because it’s not believable. Even Harry Potter couldn’t keep calm and lovely all the time!
3. Is your character a minority in any way? If so, how might this affect them?
As Kate said in her post, you need to be able to understand things that might hold a minority character back. If this means you have to do a bit of research to get it to be believable, so be it! Whether you’re writing about someone who is in the minority because of religion, race, gender, sexuality, or anything else, it’s important not to offend anyone by being overly stereotypical or anything else!
4. How old is your character?
Age will affect how a character talks, moves around and sits, amongst other things. For example, it wouldn’t be very realistic for an elderly man to skip around and use modern slang, now would it?
Also think about how other characters will treat your character based on their age.
5. When is your story set?
This again will affect how your character talks and is treated, amongst others. If your story is set in, say, the 1800s, and your character is female, other characters may treat her in a degrading or undervalued way, and possibly with an air of ‘women should be seen and not heard’. Likewise, a man in a wartime period will be feeling pressured into fighting if he isn’t already. Research is key for historical accuracy, and if that means taking part in some experience where you can live how they would in that time* for a day or so, then go for it!
If your story is set in the future, you have the freedom to create your own world, so go crazy! But remember to still think about how your character would be affected.
*I’m not actually sure these things exist but they might do.
6. Where is your story set?
Different countries, continents and parts of countries (possibly even different planets, galaxies or universes) will have different cultures and beliefs, which again will affect different aspects of the character’s personality and speech, and other things too!
Basically, making a realistic character requires A LOT of thinking, which is why I tend not to write on days when my brain isn’t working at its best! If you have any more suggestions or questions feel free to tell me in the comments! Make sure to check out the other girls’ blogs too!
Here’s the schedule so you can keep up with the blog hop so far!
- Monday: Kate on Diverse Characters
- Tuesday: Sabrina on Personality
- Wednesday: Dunelleth on Names/Dynamics (posted on ravingsofadeadpoet AKA Kate’s Blog) (For some reason this isn’t up yet.)
- Thursday: ME!!! on Realistic Characters 😛
- Friday: Surprise Ending!!! (I still don’t quite know what this is)
xx Elly xx