As you already know if you’ve been keeping up with The Mad Chronicler, I’ve started posting daily (instead of triweekly) and today is the first post in which I compile some links to help you on your way towards writing a good novel.
Today my links revolve around creating characters, but even if this is a step you’ve already finished, it never hurts to look over other people’s processes, especially if it helps you find information you hadn’t yet known about your character.
So, here goes my 7 Sites for Character Creation.
1. “5 Ways to Make Your Character More Three-Dimensional” on Writer’s Relief
The trick to creating characters is more than just giving them a name and a rough physical sketch. It’s also more than figuring out their favorite type of ice cream or which sports team they detest. (In a previous blog post, titled Creating Characters: The Little Things, this is something I have discussed in a bit more detail.) Mostly, the tricky part is making them three dimensional. Real.
The blog post makes a good point, especially when it comes to the complexity of emotions. I would argue that the most character development doesn’t come when the character acts normally. It’s when s/he does something out of character that the reader is able to really see what kind of person this character is.
2. “33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters (And Why They Should Be Your #1 Concern)” on She’s Novel
She’s Novel is one of the few how-to-write blogs that I genuinely like, because its author, Kristen Kieffer, is very in-depth on many topics, and her voice is lively. This particular post of hers is a good one. Kristen divides the blog post into three interesting headers, “To Give,” “To Make,” and “To Find” and lists roughly a dozen under each one, explaining the tips succinctly.
3. “How To Create a Character” on Men with Pens
James Chartrand, who wrote this pots, makes a good point of stating that every real life human being fills one cliche or another. She compares people to a recipe in which each person might have the same ingredients, but the differing amounts of each ingredient leaves a different person.
James’s exercise at the end is also one you should consider doing. Having a theoretical conversation with your character is a good way to learn more about them. Not just their history or their family, but also topics that they love to talk about and topics that they’d rather avoid.
4. “How to Craft Compelling Characters” on Writer’s Digest
Writer’s Digest is another go-to blog for me, simply because it is a professional blog dedicated to helping writers. They are connected with agents and publishers, and often post about what agents and/or publishers are looking for what. They also can write some good posts on how to become a better writer.
Sometimes the most difficult thing is simply figuring out where to start. This blog post gives you some suggestions, much like She’s Novel did, but goes in a little more depth to help you on your way.
A character, as I said before, is not just a name, but sometimes a name can go a long way. Fantasy writers may want to find names that aren’t based on real-life names, and for that you will either have to look for a fantasy name generator or rely on your own mind’s creativity.
On the other hand, name meaning and baby name sites can often help an author struggling to find the right name for their characters. I know that names are one of my writing weaknesses. Behind the Name lets you either look up a name you already have in mind, or let’s you search based on a region in the world. This can be incredibly useful, because there are some beautiful names found in other cultures, just waiting to be used.
I would recommend finding a name for your character that is both easy to pronounce and whose name has something to do with the character him/herself. The latter is not a requirement, but names that describe can be more powerful than those chosen based on how pretty they are.
Camp NaNoWriMo update: as of last night, I’m at 6,505 words total.