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Brianna had this good question, which I think is important to all writers.  How would you answer this question?

 

"Humans are complicated. And writers have the daunting task of translating those idiosyncrasies from reality to fiction. Since your perspective is limited to your own experiences, you might accidentally craft a character readers can’t relate to because she comes across as fake.

 

How do you avoid this problem and make sure readers form a bond with her instead?"

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Well, I have to say, one really good way would be...wait for it...BETA READERS!

 

Input from a wider variety of people of different backgrounds, ages, and life experiences can help to balance and give depth to otherwise flat or unrealistic characters.

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Yes, Beta Readers do help enormously in this respect. I always give a huge sigh of relief if a BR says I have believable characters.

 

But during the creating process I have found using photo/pictures to help m visual a character - I can use the physical features for description but also in some cases the expression on the person's face can help me to determine the personality of a individual character.  I like to give my characters a phrase and mannerism too. Sometimes a flaw.. Not everyone else in the book has to like them either.

 

Back stories help to create a believable character.  It can be a good reference point when you are writing a scene with your character in and need to consider their reaction/decision. I find if I have a backstory I will go to it to remind myself of their nature - that helps me work out what the natural response will be - it is not always what I want them to do but often will be the most plausible.

 

I think we do subconsciously take bits and pieces of people we know what even realizing it. When writing a number of books I have to remind myself to make the mc of each new book as different from the last one as possible.

 

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17 minutes ago, Zee said:

 

Input from a wider variety of people of different backgrounds, ages, and life experiences can help to balance and give depth to otherwise flat or unrealistic characters.

 

Beta readers aren't so lame after all!

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5 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

But during the creating process I have found using photo/pictures to help m visual a character - I can use the physical features for description but also in some cases the expression on the person's face can help me to determine the personality of a individual character.  I like to give my characters a phrase and mannerism too. Sometimes a flaw.. Not everyone else in the book has to like them either.

  

Now this if I find utterly fascinating, @Shamrock.   Your creative process is interesting--especially the line that "Not everyone else in the book has to like them, either."

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I like to base my characters off of real people.  A lot of my main characters/heroes have a lot of me in them.  That's something I'm working on.  I don't want them to all be like me! 🤣

 

I don't know if I've used this example before, but whatever.  In the story I've been working on for some time, the deuteragonist (who is debatably the lead himself) is a combination of my dad and one of my favorite actors.  Huh, go figure. 😉

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I agree with Grey_Skies in basing characters off of real people, especially if it's yourself. If you've gone through a certain struggle or issue that you can look back on and say, "Hey, this would be a good topic to write about", then go for it. Sure, you can write about other issues/struggles too, but it might not work as well if you haven't exactly gone through it. (Then again, it might. That's happened to me before.)

 

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3 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Yeah, but how are you going to have a plot if you don't have a bad guy?

But some of my stories don't have bad guys...Or maybe they're in there but in different forms (i.e. death)??

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10 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

What else?

Ooh! I taught this lesson in my classes for several years!

 

The antagonist of a story may take four forms, leading to these four permutations of plot:

 

Man vs. Society

 

Man vs. Self

 

Man vs. Man

 

Man vs. Nature

 

Of course a story may have more than one of these mixed in, leading to subplots.

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9 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

Since your perspective is limited to your own experiences, you might accidentally craft a character readers can’t relate to because she comes across as fake.

 

I totally disagree with this premise. My (or any writer's) perspective is not limited only to our own experiences. We are allowed to know other people, after all. They have their own experiences they can easily share.

 

9 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

How do you avoid this problem and make sure readers form a bond with her instead?"

 

By actually talking to (and getting to know) other people? Not exactly rocket science.

 

duh.gif.8c4dd2e4bd0656796e0a4266848529f9.gif

 

 

Edited by Accord64
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3 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

In Brianna's defense, she is saying that your perspective is defined by your experience,

 

Yeah, I got that - and I still disagree. Many of my characters are not based on my experiences. They are based on the experiences (or personalities) of other people I know, and sometimes on those I don't know (but read about). I suspect there may be a few writers who do the same.  🤔  (that's me being sarcastic).

 

5 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

And still these other people's experiences are interpreted through the writer's eyes.

 

Not really sure what you mean. If someone shares an experience with me, and I use it in a story, it's their interpretation I'm using. If I adopt someone's personality into one of my characters, then yes, it's my interpretation (or distillation) of that person.   

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WAIT! Never mind! I just realized that suspense was talking about the person who asked the question, not PenName. I thought he was referring to her. Hah!

Edited by Ky_GirlatHeart
Whoops..I thought PenName's name was Brianna. Guess not.
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I knew I'd created a relatable character when one reader said he was (and I quote) "adorable," and another said he was a sociopath and hoped he died.

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