Monday, March 29, 2021

Making Characters Come Alive

Compelling characters are simply the lifeblood of any good book. While you might be able to develop a fast moving plot that keeps a reader turning the pages, a truly memorable character—and, therefore, your book—should remain in the reader’s head even after the final page is turned. If the reader doesn’t feel connected to the characters or become invested in the outcome of the plot through the characters, then the pages are not going to be turned at all or your book will be forgotten as soon as the last page is turned. Even worse, your name as an author may not resonate with that reader the next time he/she visits a bookstore or goes online to look for something to buy.

Great plots are not easy to develop, but they are going nowhere if your characters are cardboard figures moving through their paces. The best plot in the world will fall flat without a well-rounded character who grabs the reader’s attention.  Even the best action-packed books and thrillers need characters who count. That includes not only your main characters, but your villains as well. Make the people so real that readers feel like they could encounter the person at any time. 

The main character or protagonist is the main source of the energy of your book, but every person he or she encounters should also be real. That includes your villain. In fact, part of that main character's make up can determine who or what your villain is.  

How does that work?  The key is in not only knowing your main characters' attributes and strength, but also the character's weaknesses as well. That is what you want to use as you develop your villain. It's not that they might be the opposite of each other -- though they might be--but knowing what fears or weaknesses those villains can exploit to drive the story. 

In any good story, your main characters are going to grow and change. That is the way to a happy ending for the main character. To do that you need to know how to achieve character growth, and what better way to do that than by giving them a strong challenge from the villain?

To succeed or come out with their happy ending, the protagonist must continually be challenged during the story and then growth and change by the end of the story. What better way to do that than by giving that character a strong villain with which to do battle. main

From mystery to romance, from fantasy to westerns, the battle between protagonists and villains is going to take place. While your heroes and heroines may be the focus of your plot, a strong villain is going to make the main characters in your story even stronger. They need to challenge your heroes and heroines to the point the main characters appear they are going to fail. Successfully overcoming a strong villain will make your main characters have to become stronger. The worse the villain, the stronger that main character must be.   

 REMEMBER - A plot is a character in trouble, both externally and internally.  The plot revolves around how the character is going to get her/himself out of that trouble so developing a good strong villain means that character is going to have to summon courage or strength he or she doesn't realize he or she has. Watching the character grow/mature and finally succeed provides for an involving read as well as a satisfactory ending.  It is like watching children grow up and learn lessons.  The reader wants to watch your characters be challenged, try to meet those challenges and after several attempts, succeed in the end.

Showing the reader the growth that results in success is not only going to mean a satisfying story but also a satisfying ending to the story.  a reader who might be looking for more of your books on the shelf

While villains may not be the main focus of your stories, they cannot be ignored. To give your characters a weak villain to overcome, means weaker characters.  Choose your villains and create them as carefully as you create your main characters.  The success of you book can often depend on that!


Now available at Amazon

Creating a Great Villain



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