Your Characters’ Actions
To make your characters as ‘real’ as possible you must show your reader they are ‘human.’ I know. You read that like, Ticia has lost her mind. That, sweeties, happened loooong ago. But, making your characters believable humans isn’t as hard as you may think. Actions! Make them move. Have your character splash coffee when they over pour their cuppa (like I did this morning). Have them rub the toe of their shoe on the back of their leg to polish it up. Show us how they sit in a chair and cross their ankle over their knee. Do they bounce their foot or drum their fingers? These are human aspects.
Human? Not today. The only thing human about me today is my want and need for another cuppa and something to nibble. You? Are you having a wonderful Monday? Would you like to join me in the kitchen/breakroom for a fresh cuppa? Either way, I need one. Someone go roll out the reading rug while I find something to nibble. It’s a rough morning for no reason at all. Woke up this way. Meh. Come on, grab your copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer. I’ll meet you out there in a minute (as I lean against the counter while cradling my cuppa and sipping the deep, dark, goodness).
The best thing I can tell you on how to do this is to watch people- everywhere. I know with the pandemic, you can’t just go to your favorite coffee shop, but you can still watch. Turn on your television. Watch the way the characters move, what they do, and what the emotions are behind the movements. Socially distance yourself at a park and watch the way people move, run, play with their kids, or sit quietly with a book.
One of the things you need to keep in mind is why your characters are doing what they are doing. Doing as in action. The example given is- your character murders someone. Yikes. But you must decide why and how this happened. Was it planned? Was it an act of self-preservation? What were the circumstances? Was it messy (gross)? You know, details. Maybe…the murder was to protect the world from a mad scientist. Muhahahaha. You can add twists and turns to your story by holding back some of the details.
You show your readers a lot about your characters by showing what they do and why. One key here is, if you can make yourself laugh or cry then your characters are being real. Think about yourself. Who are you when you see something that enrages you? Are you the calm one or do you immediately fly off the handle? Who are you when something super sad happens? These responses are what make you…you. These are also things that can make your characters real as well.
Give yourself some of your character’s backstory. You don’t have to add it to the book if you don’t need to but use it for yourself. Use that information to help write the motivations of your characters.
Um- you just said action is key…
Yes, I just told you how important actions are, but there is more to it. For example, how can you be in your character’s head? Like, you are writing inner dialogue for a character that is opposite of you. Talk to people. Throw out scenarios and listen to their responses. Who would do what and why? “What would you do if… (describe the scene you are writing)?” Sit back and take notes.
You can use inner dialogue in tandem with actions. Have your MC do something out of character, but their inner dialogue is so conflicted as to why they are doing it. It’s a deep dive into their motivations.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o
Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent