Creating characters is arguably the single-most important part of novel writing. At the very least, knowing how to create a character is as important as plotting a novel.
Without a page-turning plot, your readers will soon be - well, not turning the pages.
But even with a compelling story, the audience will only be interested in "what happens next" if it cares about the fictional characters at the heart of the action.
That is what creating characters boils down to, ultimately: making the audience care...
If you have been studying the art and craft of novel writing for some time, you have probably come across this question: Is character more important than plot? It is actually a totally pointless question, as this article explains.
I mentioned above that effective characterization is really all about making the audience care. But how, precisely, do you get your readers to become emotionally involved with the novel's characters? Here, you will learn the eight ways to do it.
Not all characters in fiction are created equal. At one end of the scale is the protagonist. At the other is the lowly "extra" who won't even get any lines to speak. In the middle are all the shades of gray imaginable.
Having defined all the different types of fictional characters, this article shows you how to create the most important type: round characters.
Flat characters are still important, of course, and here you will learn a few tricks of the trade for making them stick in a reader's mind. (And in Creating Unforgettable Characters, I show you how to really make them shine on the page.)
This article introduces you to the importance of getting to know your characters before you begin to write. In fact, if you don't know them - or don't know them well enough - you can't hope to bring them to life in a believable way. I then get down to the nitty-gritty of getting to know your characters by writing profiles, or biographies, for them.
Getting to know fictional characters was all about familiarizing yourself with each character's personality. Bringing them to life on the printed page involves working out what aspects of their personality you will reveal in chapter one, in chapter two, and so on, all the way through to the end.
Writers can become very attached to fictional characters when working on a novel. Not that I need to tell you that, because I'm sure you've already discovered it for yourself (or you will do soon). Fictional characters might be born in our imaginations, but they nevertheless seem real. They become our companions, our friends. Sometimes we even fall in love with them...
And that is it.
Don't worry if it seems like a lot of information, because creating characters is actually a very intuitive process and one that will become second-nature to you after you have read through these articles two or three times.