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Character-Building and Other Characters

Character building is a lot like world-building and the advice for it is very similar. We need certain types of characters for certain stories. We need a couple of them to make a story really work. I am not just talking about our main character who needs to be a lot of things, including being likable, but those people around him. 

Take for example the sidekick. Are they smart, silly, heroic, crazy, and funny? You decide but there has to be a certain chemistry between the sidekick and main actor so that they are compatible. However, one in which they are not is also a twist; secretly they are in a love-hate friendship and they are mean to each other but end up becoming good friends in the end? A twist on the classic trope. Remember that a sidekick can also be a pet, either talking or not talking, but even a goldfish can be a good sidekick if need be. Do not limit yourself to anything; in writing everything is possible. 

Then there is almost always a love interest. These people are not just our character’s ideal, but also ours. I have read so many books where the men look the same, and the women look a certain way. Classic human thinking; you want a specific type of person so if you can’t have them, at least your character can. These people can be many things. Strong, untouchable, distant, vague, and cold in some cases, or very affectionate in others.  

There needs to be a villain, and he or she can be cold and calculating or deeply affectionate to our character, at first. What I suggest you do when writing the villain is give them a handicap. A scar, a limp, a lisp, and even an eyepatch - anything to set them apart from our character. Take Bane for example; strong and confident but also needing to be helped to be that way. Make them stand out, give them an accent if that helps. Movies do that very often; they are usually not very well thought out in movies like they used to be but espionage movies make use of characters from other countries. 

How do we create the main character? Well, I suggest again that, if you can, draw them. It doesn’t have to be an exact likeness or very profound; you can just sketch and color in your character. Skin tone, eye color, height, hair color, and a deformity or even a scar or handicap. Your character is not immune to pain either. Draw your other characters or write down in as much detail as possible about them, even down to the socks they wear and the hats. There is a site you can go to for more of these little tips on what certain hats look like and what certain clothes are called. You should also get the proper name for outfits. That just adds more color to a character! Again this is your show, so make it count. 

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anelynde Smit