Anonymous asks: I have a problem about self-doubting my story and not liking my characters even if the readers like it, I want to love my characters too but I don’t know how.
Personally, the founding pillars of any story, to me, are the characters. They lead the charge of the plot, go through the development that we all look for, and bring the story full circle with dialogue and actions.This isn’t true for everyone, but they’re definitely a vital part of any story. Loving your characters doesn’t need to come naturally, but to get the best grasp of your characters, it does need to happen one way or another. So here’s how you can bring yourself closer to your characters:
1. Fill Our Character Charts and Prompts
I personally love this method, only because I love character creation more than any other part of the writing process. This will help you get not only the basics of your story, but also the minute details that can help build a character from the ground up. Here are a couple of examples of some sheets you can use:
- Devianart’s Big-Ass Character Sheet
- Charlotte Dillon’s Character Sheet
- Character Graphic Organizer
- No-Effort Character Sheet (my personal favorite)
- World Anvil – not a strictly character based website, but has character creation charts
Something else that helps that isn’t just data entry is checking out prompt blogs which have a bunch of ideas for you to insert your character into. By actually putting characters in action, you can actually learn a lot from them. Here’s a few that can help you out, although I’m totally missing a lot of them:
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Add or Delete
Sometimes, if a character just isn’t sitting right with you, then it might be best to cut them entirely and start a new character from scratch. Maybe you’re writing a main character with a cocky personality who you just can’t get along with. Changing that character into, say, someone who’s quieter and then learns confidence over the course of the novel rather than having it at the beginning, might help as well.
Here are some signs that your character should be altered or removed:
– They don’t serve a direct purpose in the story, or are just there to have more characters in general
– Their dialogue struggles to be relevant
– You, as an author and individual, are uncomfortable writing them (i.e. a character who is racist or homophobic and uses language you aren’t comfortable with
– They struggle to stay on their plotted character development, or refuse to grow
– You find that reading through their scenes, you wouldn’t want to read about this character.
3. Look Closely at Your Narrative
Maybe the problem isn’t that the character fails to connect with you, but that the use of that character in your story is hindering them from succeeding. Some characters are great, but struggle to do well because the plot either doesn’t match their personality, or the plot can’t exemplify all the good qualities they have.
If that’s the case, then I would say refer to step two and insert a new character. While it’s fine to delete characters you don’t enjoy writing, be sure not to also cut any character that doesn’t agree with you. Put them to the side for a little while, give them a break for a little while as you focus on plot, and then see if you can find a place for them later
I hope these tips have helped, and good luck!