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Creating Characters

One of the most important aspects of fiction has to be creating believable characters. It is also, I believe, one of the most difficult aspects of writing for many writers. We can all learn the correct techniques and formulas of fiction writing but creating characters that almost live and breathe require more than just following certain techniques, it requires an intuitive belief in those characters that we can visualise in our minds eye.

Many writers believe that character development starts on the page, I believe that it starts long before and those characters of the future may even be buried deep within our subconscious minds as we instinctively begin the process of their creation.

As writers, we owe it to ourselves to produce our best work always, and we should always strive to master our skills even if that means working harder on those areas where we are not quite as adept.

Consider for a moment how much better our writing will be perceived if those characters can reach out to the reader, draw them into the plot and make them care about the outcome.

Many years ago, I struggled to control one of my own characters who was pulling in a completely different direction to where I wanted him to go. My plot had been painstakingly defined and whatever I did, I could not seem to get this character to perform as he was supposed to.

Unsure of what to do and in frustration, I wrote him out of the story.

I then spent hours feeling emotional and actually found myself (to my horror) feeling remorse, guilt and a real sense of loss. Most importantly, I realised that my story was not going to be as good without him, it had lost its focus and was certainly less dynamic.  My character was larger than life and there was an intensity about him that was compelling. 

When I realised my mistake, I deleted the latter pages and he was instantly back in the centre of the plot, a strong, slightly irritating, infuriatingly demanding character who was an integral part of the whole story.

I then adapted my plot around him and realised that this made my story so much more believeable because I had been trying to make him act out of character previously. In doing so, I  learned to become much more flexible realising that when characters start to lead, as writers we have achieved something special.

If you find creating and developing characters a difficult process, then why not sign up for the writers e-course ‘Create Living, Breathing, Characters? It really can help and is designed for those busy writers who need quick and easy projects to focus on.

Don’t forget to sign up to the news feed on this page as I will then be able to send any updates directly to you. Also, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think about the act of creating characters.

Until next time, enjoy creating new fictional life.

Annette Young

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