Struggling To Create A Character?


The struggle to create a character is very real for many fiction writers, screenwriters and playwrights.

So, if you’re currently struggling to create a character for your novel, screenplay or stage production – whether you’re a newbie or have some experience – you are not alone. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I guarantee that by the time you get to the end of this post, your struggle to create a character will be a thing of the past.

Read on to create a character in five steps.

And you’ll be able to get on with your novel, screenplay or other script because it’ll be much easier for you to create a character.

1) Start with a character sketch

I get it; you want to go with the flow. Cos you might think that’s how you’re supposed to do it when you want to create a character.

But even a minor character in a novel, movie, TV drama or stage production can be quite complex. And if you don’t put considerable thought into creating that character, it might ruin your work of fiction completely.

Here’s the thing about thinking about a character before you create them; you’re not going to remember everything.

So, that’s where a character sketch comes in.
Simply put, a character sketch is a pretty accurate guideline for creating characters in fiction.

Think of it as something similar to what a sketch artist creates for the police when they’re trying to locate a person of interest.

So, it’s not a novel outline, it’s not the plot for your story, and it’s definitely not a tool you can use as an excuse to procrastinate.

There’s no rule that says you can’t deviate from what’s in your character sketch. Or that you absolutely have to stick to it when you create a character.

But without a character sketch of some sort, you:

  • are going to drive yourself nuts trying to figure out or remember which character is supposed to be doing or saying what
  • run the risk of being so confused that you never actually finish writing your novel or script for the screen, stage or radio
  • won’t have any producer, publisher, actor or agent in their right mind, greenlight or want to be associated with your work

So, if you’re wondering how to get started with a character sketch, request a free cheat sheet below to help you create a character real quick.

2) Develop the character

So, now that you’ve got a character sketch and you have a bit more than just an idea of the character you’re trying to create, you need to develop them.

There are different kinds of characters but when you want to create a character, you need to bear in mind that it is unforgivable for a major character to stay the same all through the story.

Even for some (but not all) minor characters, they have to undergo some changes – mentally, psychologically, emotionally, geographically, and sometimes even physically.

The story you’re telling in your novel, screenplay or stage production will typically happen over a period of time – hours, days, months, even years.

And in real life, people just don’t stay static over long periods of time – particularly if they’ve been through something.

So, nobody is going to be interested in reading about or watching a character that stays the same from beginning to end. Would you be interested in a story full of such characters?

A character that doesn’t grow over time, whether positively or negatively, is a waste of time for the writer and for the audience.

Cos with characters like that, there is no story.

That’s why character development is so important and you absolutely have to factor that in when you want to create a character.

3) Don’t be afraid to dirty them up a bit

You’re probably still wondering the ways to go about character development when trying to create a character.

And while there’s no hard and fast rule, know that people come for the drama.

There’s a reason that some soap operas stay on air for 20 years or more.

It’s the same reason that some people fall over themselves to watch “reality television” shows or TV drama series.

It’s also the reason that people can’t stop talking about certain books they’ve read.

The reason is simply that readers and viewers like and come for the drama. Simple as that.

Nobody is going to read or watch something with only well-behaved characters. Cos apart from the fact that there’s no story, characters like that are boring.

How did you feel the last time you read or watched something full of boring characters who all behaved well? There you go!

So, when you want to create a character, don’t be afraid to dirty them up a bit.

In real life, nobody is all clean, people either cause or go through stuff, and audiences want to watch or read about characters who are just like them or worse. Cos among other things, it gives your audience hope.

The hint here is to ask and answer What if? So, what would my character do if…?

4) Give them a back story

This point is really important because no matter how dirty someone is, they’re not like that for no reason.

It’s not an excuse; it’s just what it is.

Two different individuals in the exact same circumstances will usually react differently. And that’s because of one thing or more that is not visible.

So, for instance, you can have two people who are very anti-drugs. One might be that way because their childhood was ruined by the shenanigans of a parent addicted to drugs.

The other might steer clear because they’ve actually tried drugs once in the past and bad stuff happened to them or someone else immediately after.

Two women trying to become lead singer in a band might seem aggressive, gregarious and bitchy.

But one is that way because if she doesn’t make the band, she’ll have to return empty-handed to her father’s house where she was abused as a child and nobody defended her.

The other might have a background of being a child prodigy who’s never failed at anything in her life. And so on and so forth.

So, on the surface, they’ll seem the same to a reader or viewer cos they’re anti-drugs, or want to sing lead in a band so bad.

But they’re really not the same as they have different motivations and possibly, secrets.
And it’s your job to think up a good back story when you want to create a character.

With the back story, you want to ask and be able to answer Why? cos nobody behaves anyhow for no reason.

5) Register for and attend this free training

If you want to know more about what to look out for or you never want to struggle ever again when you try to create a character, register for and attend this free webinar.

It’s a free training where you’ll learn exactly what can go wrong when you try to create a character, and how to fix it.

Just click here or complete the form below and check your emails (including Spam, Other and Promotions folders).

So, do you feel like it’d be much easier for you to create a character now? Comment below and let us know.

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