The Importance Of Character
We all have different voices and styles, and you know what? Our characters do too! Finding your character's voice is delving into what makes them who they are. Below I compiled a list of what I think about when I’m trying to discover who my main character is. This works for all of the characters in my story. I’ll start with my main character, focus on him or her and go from there.
What is my character passionate about? What is it that he/she wants? I try to establish this early on so I can see where he/she is coming from. These questions lead to who they are, their background, family life. I don’t worry too much about what color eyes or hair they have that usually reveals itself to me after I get a chance to know who they are and spend some time with them.
I next go to their drive. What makes them tick, what do they want to accomplish? Do they have long-term goals or short-term goals? Maybe both? That’s okay if they have both. I find that this helps me learn more about them. Knowing who they are help’s their story come to life for the reader and me.
Motivations are so important! They create drama and flush out your characters. Ask yourself what motivates you? This will also help you with your outline as you plan your book. Knowing their motivations can propel the story forward. This is especially key when characters are presented with an obstacle, and you’ll know beforehand how they’ll handle them, which makes your work easier! Let’s face it, writing a book is hard, so why make it more so?
If you find yourself struggling, stop for a moment, and ask your friends and family what some of their dreams are? What are their passions? And what do they find gets them motivated? Sometimes hearing the answers can help you get started. And I don’t mean ‘Hey, just ask them and use their answers!’ but listen to them and reflect on the answers they give you.
These are just a few questions I ask when I want to learn who my characters are when I want to discover their ‘voice’ and helps me so much.
I found that having a starting point keeps me from getting lost within the world of my characters and creates a road map into their psyche. Bringing a character to life on the pages of a book can be a daunting challenge, but if you allow yourself to take a second and look at the characters in your story you can see that they can’t wait to talk to you and get to know you too!
You know that saying about hearing ‘voices in your head’ well, that’s okay if you’re a writer. Its par for the course so just go with it!