What lies within us is very powerful. Use it to your advantage and let your characters write themselves. Your past shapes who you are and it’s where our actions and reactions to every day happenings come from. If you use what lies within you, your characters will have depth because their actions and reactions will be believable.
Characters in a story need more depth than a meer physical description. How do you get a reader vested in your characters so they want to know what happens to them? It’s simple really, give them personality and depth.
For each character in your novel make a list that includes:
Eduard von Grützner’s depiction of Falstaff, a literary character well known for his joie de vivre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
- Hair Color
- Eye Color
- Parent’s marital status
- Any life changing experience – teased in school, death of a close relative or friend, divorce
Rainbow striped toe socks worn with thong sandals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Real people have depth because of our life experiences. These experiences formed the person each of us has become. By making a list of attributes for each character, you as the author, know where they have come from. This helps you write your characters actions and reactions true to who they are, your dialogue becomes natural, giving them depth. When characters are real to the author they become real to the reader. At this point your reader becomes vested in your story because they want to know what happens to the character.
Be careful as you’re writing to not have verbal diarrhea by giving too much background information away at once about a character. Think back to when you met your best friend for the first time. You only knew their name and what they looked like at first. It wasn’t until later as you got to know your friend that you learned their favorite things, past experiences, and pet peeves that allowed you to predict how your friend would react in different instances. You didn’t know everything there was to know about your friend instantly. This is how you should give the reader information about your characters. Slowly, and in small increments. Some information about your character may never be revealed, but as the author you are aware of it.