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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • What are your top 3 tips for characterization? : Tips and Advice • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:38 pm
by Dreaming Imrryr
Hi everybody. :)

What are your top 3 tips for characterization that you have heard or came up with yourself?

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:01 pm
by pls
Characters are formed via conflict via other characters (or entities). Anything else is author intrusion.

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:18 pm
by williamadams

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:25 pm
by pls

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:10 pm
by cynicalwanderer
In my planning, I like to draw up a grid on a spreadsheet mapping every important character to every other important character. In each cell I then try to brainstorm interesting points of conflict, desire, friendship, enmity, past history, personal knowledge, and so on between the two. Some pairs will of course have empty cells, where two characters don't naturally interact in the story, and not all of the points will get into the story, but I find the technique useful for deepening the relationships and the conflicts that result, even if much of it is only felt in the hidden part of the iceberg and never spelled out directly.

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:15 pm
by williamadams

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:21 pm
by williamadams

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:34 pm
by Dreaming Imrryr
Hi everybody. :)

Here are my top three tips on characterization, use these tips at your own risk, I am not responsible for the failure of your book if the following tips are used:

1.) Decide what the main characteristics are for your character: nice, mean, helpful, selfish, virtuous, depraved, etc.
These main characteristics should govern the actions of your character. If your character deviates from these characteristics, there should be a reason for it, if not the character won't seem real because he/she is "acting out of character". Such as why Severus Snape acted the way he did in the last Harry Potter movie, there was a reason for it and I can't say why without giving away spoilers.

2.) Make a simple or complex backstory for your character to explain why they are the way they are. Such as, your character is deeply religious and so tries to live a virtuous life.

3.) If the character is a major character, give them a physical and/or emotional growth arc in which they change as a person through the trials and conflicts that they had to go through.

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:55 pm
by ostarella
I would much rather be writing the story than filling out forms and diagrams about characters I don't know and who will undoubtedly still surprise me as the story progresses regardless of what my charts say. I learn about them along with future readers. Based on amalgamations of real people I've known and observed, and letting the characters develop in their own way, I know immediately when they do something out of character as well as when what they do is perfectly in character.

Re: What are your top 3 tips for characterization?

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 12:45 pm
by williamadams