One of the hardest challenges about writing fiction and starting a new novel is finding out who your main character is. Well, at least it is for me. If you watch a show or read a book, the character’s personality and the way you relate to them is what brings you back for more. So, how do you do that for your readers?
Let’s get started. I’m going to explain to you how I first start writing for my main character.
So, you started writing and you have a general idea of the plot. I hope. That’s why you started writing this story in the first place, right? It’s because you found an idea that you can’t get out of your head and you must write it down or lose it altogether. Let’s move along from there.
The story that you have is perfect. Well, it starts out perfect until you start writing it. Unfortunately, your characters are flat. They’re boring and the dialogue feels like a chore. So, what’s wrong?
You have no idea who your characters are or what drives them.
These interesting people in your head just aren’t that interesting. Let’s start thinking about this like your pitching a tv show or a movie. Instead, you’re pitching yourself your main character. Who do you imagine them to be like? Maybe, your character is a dash of April from Parks and Rec and a dash of Melinda May from Agents of Shield. Who knows, but now you got a slight idea about how they interact with the world around them.
This is only half of it. It’s now time to find out what drives your character now that you have a tiny part of their personality in your head.
Finding this part out might take a little more time. Remember all of those social media questionnaires you used to love to kill time? What’s your favorite color, how many siblings do you have, what was your favorite Christmas gift? Time to dig those up and start answering them for your character(s).
After all this thought and probably several hours later (because let’s face it, those questionnaires are addicting) you finally have an idea how the main character of your story reacts. This person in your head now feels a little more like a person and a little less like their interactions are the equivalent of talking with a rock. Now, they have likes, dislikes, friends, family, and something that drives them.
This might change throughout your book or short story but now your off to a decent start. Your characters will change and grow along with your story but now with these tips they are easier to write for.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions, my comment section is below. Let me know what you want me to discuss in next month’s blog post. In the downloads at the bottom of the page, I have a list of questions that will help you get started thinking about your own main character(s). The files are in docx. and pdf. format.
Also, feel free to check out my ongoing story Catching Time. If you like what you’re reading and want to help a writer out, I have a Ko-fi too! If you want to see the evolution of this blog-post with more tips, check out the new and improved version on Medium.
As far as this month’s story update, the next chapter of Catching Time is on schedule. Watch for the 6th chapter of Catching Time on September 16th!