Creating Characters For A Story: Reality vs Expectations


Creating characters for a story is a worry for many writers. That may be why you’re on this post. 

You probably know that even a whack storyline can be forgiven.

But there are some books you read or even movies you watch and you realise this thing is whack because the writer doesn’t know a lot about creating characters for a story.

Characters are what make us care about stories.

It’s the same whether the characters are human, animals, objects, elements or other beings that have been given human attributes or supernatural characteristics. 

There are ways to go about creating characters for a story to ensure your reader is and remains hooked. But even with the best of intentions, there are some preconceptions you have. Then, you realise, “My experience differs from my expectations when it comes to creating characters for a story.”

So, we’re going to consider some of them and how to fix them.

1) They’ll be easy to create 

Truth is that some characters will be easier to create than others.

Sometimes, a character is easy to create because you know someone like that in real life. In fact, your character is so based on a person you know, that you’re dubbing. Not actually creating. 

But there are characters that will be difficult to write because what they are and do, will take a toll on you. 

There were times when I wanted to give up on writing Forever There For You entirely, because creating the character of Nadine was hard.

I already knew what would happen by the end of the book. But using Nadine to get there was tough because of what I would have to put her through. And that messed with my mind in ways that I can’t even begin to tell you.

Yet, it had to be done. Else the character wouldn’t have been done the justice the story deserved.

And it’s been years since I released the book but I haven’t totally put that character to bed. I can’t cos I have to talk to her whenever I do any promo for the book. How would I market a book if I ignored the main character? 

2) They’ll just flow and you won’t have to think or research

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one. Some writers believe that they’re not authentic enough if they have to do any real research.

Like it’s all just supposed to flow through them and they’ll be in a zen state. Or something like that.

In real life and right here on Earth, that doesn’t happen. Yes, there are times when you’ll feel like you didn’t have to do a lot in terms of actively creating characters for your story. And this will be because the character will, in a sense, write themselves

But anyone who tells you that you don’t have do to any research for creating characters for a story is lying to you. Research is your friend. It doesn’t make you a fraud that you don’t just happen to know everything about a character.

3) You’ll love them 

You won’t.

You don’t have to even like a character to write them. For real!

You’re just supposed to do them justice. That means making your readers care about or react to them.

I legit absolutely despise certain characters in each of my books. Yet, I created them with as much care as I did the characters I love. And that’ll continue to be the case for any books or scripts I write in the future.

4) Every reader will react to them as you do/want 

I know your story is your baby. And you want everyone who reads it, to care like you do.

You want them to feel as you do about every element you invested time, energy and emotions creating. 

But here’s the thing. Just as you can’t tell anyone how to feel about a person in real life (not without manipulation/coercion/voodoo and not for long, anyway) – you can’t tell your readers how to feel about your characters. 

People will feel how they’ll feel about characters for reasons that you may never understand. It’s perfectly OK.

So, you’ve got to be OK with that.

5) You’re in complete control

I know you’re the writer but you’re not in control of a lot of things. Not totally, anyway.

Some characters lead you to create them, so you do.

But there are some whose aspects will be based on discoveries you make during research. You can’t control any of these. 

You might also find that you can’t control how you feel about certain characters that you create.

Love or hate for them might sneak up on you, and you won’t be able to stop or shake it. And it’s OK.

Now that we’ve busted some of your expectations about creating characters for a story, book your space to attend this free webinar where you’ll learn how to create characters that don’t suck.

Comment below and let us know which expectation was holding you back from creating characters for your story.

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