|The Last Supper|
Writing Tip for Today: As you develop your lead character, supporting cast and any others in your novel, take advantage of these easy ways to create characters that will leave a lasting impression upon readers.
- Write the Sympathy Factor. You've no doubt heard that your lead character must be likable. While this isn't always possible, a reader must in some way identify with this figure--there must be something about the character which triggers a visceral response in the reader.The reader must CARE what happens to him/her. Making your character apathetic, undecided or passive may be the way real life is, but in most cases, fictional characters must be more definite.
- Use Dialogue, Tags and Other Gimmicks Wisely. If you get feedback that "all your characters sound a lot like you," do a little field research. Go to a restaurant, food court, mall or park and listen with your notepad or tablet at the ready. Jot down interesting scraps of dialogue, and use them to build a unique and distinct cast for your story. Character tags (a guy who is always smoking a cigar, jingling change, etc) are OK but use them judiciously--and don't rely on them. They're gimmicks, and can become quickly tiresome.
- Keep Asking WHY? Motivation is often one of the slipperiest aspects of character building. In your first draft, you may not understand what makes your character tick. But you'll likely have a sense of some deep fear, shame, anger or other strong emotion. Keep following that bread crumb trail to the beginning, so you'll know exactly why your character is the way she is.