In order to create a relatable character, you must think about them as having several layers. Knowing and choosing character traits is important because you don’t want them to be one dimensional. It’s all not as simple as saying “this person is mean” or “this person is kind”. Think about the people you know in real life. They all have some sort of defining trait that makes them different from everyone else. You usually know more than just one thing about them and they most likely have many interests. Your characters must be just as diverse.
I’ve listed some examples of character types:
Adventurer: high levels of energy, bold, dominant, competitive, fickle, leader. Can be aggressive or have poor judgment.
Bossy: confident, competitive, stubborn, close minded, serious, lacks shame or guilt, wants a high status.
Creator: artistic, observant, persistent, sensitive, introverted, becomes easily absorbed, enthusiastic, likes his or her own company.
Extrovert: outgoing, talkative, not easily intimidated, expressive, enjoys being with others, seeks social situations.
Fearful: driven by fears of rejection, unhappy, withdrawn, avoids stress, uncomfortable in social situations, problems being assertive.
Loner: might be directionless, little attachment to anyone, likes to be alone and avoids social situations, rarely expresses anger.
Passive-Aggressive: reserved, sulky or resentful, jealous, always assumes the worst, doesn’t know how to express their feelings, behaves in indirect ways.
Resilient: happy, productive, is able to overcome adversity, has a good sense of humor, high standards, able to go through life with minimal stress.
Victim: feels weak, pessimistic about life, acts like a burden, no deep emotions, feels helpless when left alone.
I also wanted to discuss some psychological disorders in case you’d like to include them in your manuscripts:
Anxiety: tense, shy, depressed, feels worthless, afraid of social situations, lacks confidence, worried, cries frequently.
Autism: can show delay or lack of language in severe cases, might be bossy, dislikes social rules, fights, blows up easily, can lack self-control, uninterested in others.
Depression: feelings of rejection, low self-esteem, negative self-image, intense sadness, can feel worthless.
Hypochondriac: pessimistic, self-centered, complains about aches that can’t be explained by a medical condition, worries, low energy.
If you’re thinking of a specific disorder, you should do the proper research and remember that a disorder can affect everyone differently. Not everyone will have the same traits.
Here are some lists for finding the right vocabulary and coming up with diverse character traits by combining them:
List of POSITIVE character traits: adaptable, alert, ambitious, aware, brave, calm, capable, certain, committed, compassionate, considerate, consistent, curious, dedicated, determined, efficient, expressive, faithful, happy, honest, independent, intelligent, loyal, nurturing, patient, playful, polite, productive, punctual, responsible, strong, trusting, warm, wise.
List of NEGATIVE character traits: angry, aggressive, arrogant, bossy, cruel, careless, cold, conceited, conniving, dishonest, dangerous, egocentric, evil, foolish, flaky, gloomy, grumpy, hateful, harsh, inconsiderate, immature, indulgent, ignorant, insensitive, jealous, lazy, malicious, miserly, mean, mistrusting, pessimistic, pompous, rude, scornful, thoughtless, timid.
Remember that most people have both good and bad traits, so combining them should help you form a well-rounded character.
Anonymous asked: > I am having trouble with the way all my characters talk < I already have tips on accents, so that is not what I am looking for. But they basically all talk the same way in a not-so-constant manner and there is not deference in speech than voice.
For some writers, dialogue comes naturally. It’s a gift often taken for granted, and when you don’t have it, dialogue can be the hardest part about writing. There are a few things you can do, however, to develop your skill and allow your characters to speak in their own unique voices.
- Eavesdrop. Listen to everyone. Go out in public and write down snippets of conversation you hear. (Coffee shops are particularly useful in this respect, since it’s not uncommon to see people with notebooks or laptops.) Note speech patterns — does one person tend to speak in fragments? Is there a rhythm to their speech? Listen to two or more people having a conversation and note the differences in the way each person speaks. Listening to real people will allow you to better understand real dialogue.
- Know who your characters are. A nuclear physicist educated at MIT will probably speak differently than a high school cheerleader from Nebraska. What demographic do your characters fall into? How old are they? Where are they from? This isn’t just about accents — someone from Kentucky will use different language than a Bostonian. Are they educated? What are their occupations? Who are they speaking to? From the vocabulary to the tone to the actual content of the conversation, the way people speak to their parents is normally different than the way they speak to their friends which is different from the way they speak to their teachers or bosses or enemies or customers or strangers on the train and on and on. People, it turns out, are complicated, and their speech patterns should reflect that.
- Read it out loud. It always helps when you can hear your dialogue, rather than simply seeing it on a page. As you’re writing, say the dialogue out loud. If it doesn’t sound like your character, try something else. Contractions, slang, word omissions, and colloquialisms allow speech to sound more natural, and these distinctions separate diagonal from the surrounding prose.
- Note the style of your action. If your writing resembles Catcher in the Rye and your main character is a teenage boy, your dialogue is probably going to sound a lot like the action surrounding it. And that’s okay. If, however, your writing reminds you of James Joyce and you’re writing about a homeless man in Albuquerque, your character’s speech and your voice should be different.
Here are a couple exercises that you can do for practice:
- Write a short piece that is dialogue only without any indicators of who is speaking other than the dialogue itself. This will force you to look at the different ways your characters speak.
- Fanfiction. (Ignoring the stigma around it, it’s an invaluable tool to improving dialogue.) Take two characters that you’re familiar with and have them talk to each other. Can you hear their personality in their voices? It helps if the characters aren’t too similar, but still work well together. Think Spock and Kirk.
- Write down a real conversation you’ve had with someone. Once you have the dialogue established, add action and description. Pulling from reality can help you determine what sounds realistic.
And here are some more resources you might want to check out:
- The Passion of Dialogue
- 25 Things You Should Know About Dialogue
- Dialogue Writing Tips
- How to Write Believable Dialogue
- Writing Dialogue: The Music of Speech
I hope this helps!
Characterization is one of the most important elements of fiction. While literary fiction requires a more complex treatment than does most genre fiction, all writers must people their works with interesting, believable characters.
1. Know your character’s past without explaining it to the reader. Since we are all driven by our personal histories, it makes sense that believable characterization would contain this component. However, the reader does not need to know everything you, the writer, does. Beginning writers often supply lengthy exposition and details that have no bearing on the scene. Reveal your character’s past on a “need to know” basis only.
2. Characterization should be a force behind the plot. Ask yourself: Why can’t this story happen without this character? How does this character add to the conflict? How would the story change with a different set of characters
3. The personality and peculiarities of your characters should emerge through their actions. The old “Show, don’t tell” advice is particularly useful here. Instead of explaining motive, emotions, and realizations, let the reader draw his conclusions based on behavior.
4. Don’t use characters as mouthpieces. A character should never exist solely to convey information.
5. Find the contradictions within a character. Maybe a detective who is precise with his investigations lives in chaos at home. Or a middle-aged woman listens to hip hop music. Don’t create contradictions for the sake of them, however; they need to reveal something deeper about the character that is relevant to your story.
6. Place your characters in situations that challenge their traits. For example, what happens to a borderline obsessive-compulsive person when he must forgo his rituals? What happens to a psychologist who must question her own sanity?
Writing about hair and hairstyles is something that always seemed more difficult to me than other kinds of physical description for a character. And there will always be a point, as a writer where you’ll have to describe what your character’s hair look like, no matter if it’s always like this or for a special occasion. So, I collected some links I thought could be useful on the matter, whether about the writing part in itself or more an ‘inspiration part’
- List of colors, hair types and hairstyles
- List of words to use in a character’s description (three parts about hair, but a lot of other things)
- 200 words to describe hair
- How to describe hair
- Words used to describe the state of people’s hair
- How to describe your haircut
- Hair color shartsIN HISTORY
- 1920’s hairstyles (women)
- Roman Hairstyles
- The history of hair colors
- History of Hair
- Hairstyles HistoryINSPIRATION AND IDEAS
- Ponytails (with small descriptions for each)
- Wavy hairstyles (with descriptions as well)
- ‘Simple’ hairstyles (with descriptions)
- Hairstyles pictures
- Hairstyle gallery (contains some DIY with descriptions in the right categories)
- Braids (three words description/names)
- Hairstyle general tag
- Wedding Hairstyles
- Men Hairstyles
- Hairstyles Gallery (some descriptions, well organized)
- Hairstyle describe personality
Some resources for those writing medieval-type stories:
ADMIN NOTE: This post has been taken from an article originally created by NovelDoctor.com.
The things stated below were not written by me. A friend of mine had found this information and thought that it could be useful for writing. I do not know where the information originally originates from, but all credit goes to them. I’m just trying to make the information available to all who will find it useful.
Simplify Attributions – As much as possible, just use “said” and “asked” and their variations in dialogue scenes. Or use nothing at all when the context makes it unquestionably clear who’s talking. People who bark, spit, grunt, or burp their words need to see a doctor. Or a veterinarian. Clever attributions can divert attention from the dialogue to the attribution itself. You don’t want this to happen. “Trust me,” he puked.
Don’t Be a Puppet Master – In real life, people bring assumptions and prior knowledge to a conversation. This is also true for your fictional characters. Don’t force dialogue through your characters’ throats because you need to tell the reader something. If the information wouldn’t naturally be revealed in the context of the conversation, find another way to deliver it. Your characters aren’t puppets; they’re people. Treat them as such.
Maintain Believable Pacing – Most conversations aren’t like a game of ping-pong, despite how convenient it would be to use ping-pong as a visual metaphor. Unlike ping-pong, the back and forth of conversation is uneven, sometimes dominated by one party, sometimes rapid-fire, sometimes languid. Context should always determine who’s talking and what they’re saying. There is a rhythm to good dialogue, but it’s rarely something you can set your metronome to. Don’t force characters to speak just because you’re uncomfortable with their silence. Always let the moment decide its own pacing.
Avoid Long Monologues - I know. One of your characters is a blowhard. He likes the sound of his voice and this is important to the character development or plot. Let him have his way. But don’t make a habit out of long speeches unless the story requires it. Dialogue usually requires two people. And while one may say little while the other says a lot (see pacing, above), giving characters pages of monological diatribes risks boring the reader. And in my experience, long-winded monologues are frequently evidence of a kind of laziness on the part of the writer. Rather than revealing important information contextually and through creative “show, don’t tell” opportunities, they make their characters dump it on the page for them (see puppet note above).
Kill (Most) Adverbs – Do I need to say it again? Only use adverbs when they actually add something to the dialogue. If it’s clear the character is upset and yelling, you don’t need to add that she’s yelling “loudly.” Yelling is, without further qualification, loud. That said, you might actually find use for adverbs in the dialogue itself. Real people use them in conversation (though not as much as you might think). That’s fine. Just don’t staple them willy-nilly to all your attributions.
Use Contractions – Unless you’re writing a period piece or a novel that otherwise demands the stiff-upper-lippedness of contraction-free speech, please use them without apology. They just sound more natural. This, by the way, holds true not only for dialogue, but also for the rest of your narrative. If you want to challenge this advice, that’s fine. Please have your well-thought-out reasoning notarized by at least three editors who agree with you before presenting it to me. Thanks.
Don’t Give Readers Whiplash – “A lot of newbie authors,” he began, turning to look her mascara-streaked face, “suffer from this malady.” He looked down. “They break up a single piece of dialogue,” he continued, “with so many little ‘asides’ that the reader gets whiplash.” He looked up into her eyes again. “Do you know what I mean?”
There’s a time and place for action in the middle of dialogue, and when done right, that action can greatly enhance a scene. A well-timed look or touch can speak volumes. Just don’t use action to distraction.
Use Dialects Sparingly – Some of the best novels ever written are packed with well-defined characters who speak with dialects that by their very nature reveal a certain level of education or perhaps a country (or region) of origin. Characters with unique or easily-recognizable dialects can add a great deal to a story. However, crafting believable characters with any sort of dialect is no easy task. In part, this is because the dialect you see with your eyes (on the page) has a much different “feel” than a dialect you hear with your ears. In some cases, dialect can detract rather than enhance a story. If your character’s speech is hard to understand (and this isn’t due to an intentional plot point), consider dialing back on dialect. And whenever you do use it, just be sure you’re consistent both to the way such a person would speak in real life, and from scene to scene in the story itself. Otherwise your characters will sound like Kevin Costner in…well…any movie where he attempts an accent.
Again, this article was originally created by NovelDoctor.com. You can read the whole article there.
A Writer’s Rule Book
From Hunter’s Writing
Anonymous asked fuckyourwritinghabits:
I have a bad habit of starting off all of my novels with the main character having just woken up and getting ready for her day. (i’m sorry if this question has been asked before but) what are some more interesting ways to start a book without it being to complicated for the reader to dive into?
There are a very theories on how and where you should start your novel, but the main thing to focus on is to get it started and roll on from there. A lot of people have trouble with beginnings, so don’t feel like you’re out there alone! Here are a few ideas:
- Figure out the inciting event. There’s going to be one point that kicks off your plot. If you know what that point is, it’s helpful to put that as a place marker for all that should happen before and after. Sometimes novels start at the inciting event, but many times they don’t.
- List what the reader needs to know before the inciting event. Obviously there may be back story you need to layout first, or introducing the character.That’s the stuff you’ll want to include first, or at least leave clues about before the book gets moving.
- Research. Pick your five favorite books, and note where they start. What about those beginnings makes you want to read on? Where in the story do they start?
- Move it forward. For a first draft, your goal is to get the story down. Don’t get hung up over the start if it means that stalls your writing. When you want to move beyond that, those, see if there’s a point in your story where you can move the beginning forward. Where does the story actually pick up? What is the most important thing you can pick out?
- Don’t worry about losing your reader. Leaving the reader wondering is a perfect way to start a story - they’ll want to keep reading to find answers. You can nail down your first paragraph, your first line, to get the reader thinking ‘why is this happening?’ It’s not going to be perfect to start with, and it doesn’t have to be, but it’s good to keep in mind.
Good luck, anon!
One of the things I enjoy doing when writing a story is to think of the places my characters live in. The fun part is drawing them out because most of the time, there just isn’t a house that goes well with my characters. Besides, I like creating everything from the get go instead of taking a picture and saying that’s my character’s house.
Here are the links I’ve bookmarked to get ideas for homes and such. It’s not exhaustive. I do get ideas for homes and buildings in other places but I hope the following’s helpful enough for now.
Types of houses
- Modern Houses
- List of house types
- Houses in England
- Know Your House Styles
- 8 Most Common Types of Houses
- Buildings where people live or stay
- Places - Buildings People Live In
- Places - Buildings People Live In
Types of apartments
- 10 unusual places to live
- 10 Weirdest Places to Live
- 23 Houses Built In Odd Places
- Homes In The Most Unusual Places
- 6 Weird Places Where People Actually Live
- 9 Houses You Won’t Believe People Actually Live In
- 18 Weird and Wonderful Places To Live: Churches, Bunkers, Water Towers and Caves
Obviously, not all characters have a place to live so I’ve included information on homelessness.