Characters and Literary Fiction

Qualities of Good Characters

Putting real people in stories |

Many of us want to write about people, not necessarily actions. If you can pull that off, I bow to you. The reality is, there are some seriously important things you need to keep in mind when writing a character driven novel.

Gregory House: Doctor or Scientist? | by Kyle Osborne | The ...
Dr. Jerk-face

Heroic: These characters show courage and dignity in battle. They may be total jerks but must be inherently good. Think of Dr. House. Total jerk but would do anything to save his patient. If you want to write a jerk (I did in Sin Full) that is really a good guy you have to drop little glimmers of hope that he/she/they are redeemable.

I LOVE writing the jerky good guy. In real life, you know someone like this. They may be grumbly and growly, but if you called for help, they are the first to show up. They show up with a sour face but work until your request is fulfilled. I love the people in my life who have resting-B-face. They are real in all ways. I LOVE YOU FRIENDS!

Person Pouring Coffee on White Ceramic Cup · Free Stock Photo

Let’s pour a fresh cuppa and compare notes on the grumbly people in our lives. Okay, okay, I know you aren’t here for that. Let’s pour a fresh cuppa, find a nibble, and grab our copies of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer. I will get the reading rug ready for you when you get back. We are on page 105, reading about good qualities in our characters.

Jumping back in…

Writing Beyond the Good/Bad Character Dichotomy | LitReactor

Believable:  To make your character real-realthey need strengths and weaknesses. Yup, they need to show a flaw. Mine? Coffee. Really, not kidding. Anyway, giving your character a weakness allows your reader to identify with them more. Don’t just show this shortcoming once. Remind your readers, and the character that they are not perfect.  

Sympathetic: We all love some action in a story, but we also need a character(s) that respond to the everyday ordinary things that happen in life. We talked before about how we truly get to know someone, or a character, is to see how they respond in a crisis. Are they the calm one, the one who is blasé, or flies off the handle?  

Memorable: What is your favorite book? Why is it your favorite book? THAT is what makes it memorable and that is your goal. To create characters like that.

How to make a well-rounded character.

Trait                                      Need                                                  Flaw

Loyal                                       to be trusted                                       gullible

Adventurous                         to experience change                       unreliable

Altruistic                                to be loved                                          submissive

Tolerant                                  to have no conflict                            no conviction

Decisive                                 to be in charge                                   impetuous

*There is more but this is not my chart to share. Get the book and read the rest. *

Arrow Up | Free Stock Photo | Illustration of a green arrow ...

When you are creating your character sketch, fill in the need of your character and their flaw and the moment of enlightenment. The flaw tends to be the blind spot in a character.  Everyone around them knows their flaw but they don’t see it.

It's time you waited For someone who is always late - Waiting ...
Example: always late or overly talkative.

We have also talked, many times, about your characters having an agenda. Each character needs a reason to be there. They may not know their goal, but it should become clear as the story builds.

*****

Up next…

Point of View (POV)

First-Person POV

Until then friends, I hope you have a wonderful day.

Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.

Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.

Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.

I’m always looking for new friends!

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