The Thing About Characters

It is Saturday once again and you know what that means. Time for the weekly column. Today, I want to focus on something that can be difficult when writing. Characters.

Even more than plot, I believe characters are the most important thing to a story. They are what the readers or watchers identify with. I feel like my job as a writer is to get people to care about what happens to those characters. I think I’ve been successful to a degree, even though everyone has bad characters. But that success comes for a reason.

I believe that reason is flaws. Characters, whether they be heroes or villains, need to have flaws. To make a character realistic, they need to be like real people, and real people have flaws. I hate watching a movie or reading a book where a character is introduced, has all the power they need, is given a cheap backstory about their “struggles”, and then wind up saving the day. Heroes need to fail. They need to grow and learn from their experiences. I think by doing that, you make people care about them more, and you make the character more interesting.

Now, everyone writes in their own way and fashion. That’s great. It’s what makes the world of reading so diverse. But please make sure people care about the characters you create. Those characters ultimately represent you and how you would react in that story, or how you would want to react.

Anyway, I think that’s good for this week. I hope you all are staying safe, and have a better week than the last one. Talk to you later.

3 thoughts on “The Thing About Characters

  1. Excellent point. Every becoming writer should have this information before working on their first project. I’m currently in the writing process of my future comic, ‘Volt Vulture’, and nearly all the main characters are flawed criminals, with scars and pitfalls. The whole moral is about redemption and how anyone can earn it, even these gangsters.

    1. I think it makes them more relatable, and that makes them more interesting. In my opinion, of course.

  2. Flaws are important, and one of the things that make me fall in love with a character. It helps make them believable and real. When I talk about stories (whether that is on stage or by book) I usually talk about characters first.

    In my first book, Tale of the Cattail Forest, I purposely let Sparkle, my main character, be flawed. She may be 12= but still not without flaws. She is stubborn and rebellious.

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