This blog is a part of The Great Blogging Experiment, the brain child of awesome blogger, Elana Johnson.
As writers, we all strive to make our characters compelling. After all, who wants to read a story about a boring character? Not me. I'd rather catch up on sleep. ZZZZzzzz.....
Where was I? Right, compelling characters. So what makes a character compelling?
Backstory. A compelling character has to have a reason for being the way they are. In my assassin story, the main character is an assassin because she witnessed her father's murder. There's a reason why she has such a horrible profession. It also gives the reader to somewhat empathize with her.
Strengths and Weakness. A character should have some great traits and some flaws. After all, no one is perfect. Hubby and I recently watched the entire series of Lost so I'll borrow some characters from the show to illustrate my point.
James Ford / Sawyer: Sawyer doesn't have many strengths until he undergoes growth throughout the show. He manages to fall in love. He can be kind (when he wants to be). In his own way, he's also a leader. But he's also selfish, macho, and a con man.
Kate Austen: Resourceful, quick-witted, and willing to do anything to save her friends, Kate also killed a lot of people before Oceanic 815 crashed on the island.
Drive. Compelling characters need a problem to overcome. Something has to happen to them in the story, stakes must be laid out. You could take notes from Jack on this, although he did have to be kicked a few times in order to get into gear.
Growth. As the characters try to fix the problem, they needed to develop and grow. The characters can't be static or flat. They need to be well-rounded and multi-dimensional. Sawyer is the perfect character to examine for this.
Quirks. It's okay for your characters to have a little quirk. It makes them more real. But quirks alone don't make for compelling characters.
Nobody's perfect. No one wants to read about perfect people with perfect lives. Give your story plenty of conflict and have your characters react realistically according to their code of ethics and morals.
People read stories to be able to fall in love with the hero, to pretend to be the heroine. Make your characters believable and realistic, strong and brave, and your compelling characters will practically turn the pages themselves.