A character needs to be flawed to be believable. Perfection is not something I believe in. If I created a character, she would have an understanding of life very close to my own.
I havent written a novel yet, but I think that in order for the character to be believable he or she needs to have a believable story, they need to be from inspiration not just convienience. Authors will create a character a lot of times because they find that character fitting in the book, or will cause laughter, needed for sales of that book. If I was to create a character it would be based on actual people and primarily be inspiration and convienience, fifty fifty
Some kind of aliveness that makes this mentioned connection between the reader and the character develop. When it is established, anything can happen.
Characters need strengths and weakness. They need an objective and obstacles to achieving them. I try and flesh that out before I write.
I look for an image that inspires me to start with and then I build a back story. Then I just let the character behave according to what his or her backstory calls for.
|For me, in order for a character to be believable, they must: 1) have the potential to grow, 2) have flaws and 3) be interesting. Three different elements, all of which I take into consideration whenever I make my characters. There are other things, of course, but I'll focus on those three first before I detail anything else. Now, by no means am I an expert at making characters, nor will I ever claim that I am. Right now, I'm not even published yet, so there's even less of a reason to say "oh hey, I love making characters and all of them are great!" or anything like that. No, not even close. However, I DO love to make characters, and I certainly hope they're believable. That's up to my readers, though.
To get back to the interview, the first thing, for me, to make a character be believable is for them to be able toe evolve with a story. If a character in a story stays stagnant (that is, they never gain any depth and they stay the same throughout), for me, that's horribly boring. There's nothing interesting about them and it makes me feel like they can't grow in any way, shape or form. An example of a character doing this, although some may disagree, Bella Swan from Twilight. Throughout the four books, she never changes (personality wise). She's the same whiny, manipulative, annoying, spineless character throughout, and when she becomes a vampire, she turns into a vain, spoiled brat with only one redeeming quality (if such a term can be applied) in that she wants to protect her kid. The point is, Bella never matures. She never evolves. She never learns something new about herself and applies it to how she acts. A character that does that is not believable to me, they're unrealistic and just plain annoying. So yes, a character must have the potential to change, either for the better or the worse, although for the latter, it's preferable if them changing for the worse is intentional and not a side effect of poor writing. That's something I worry about with my characters, for sure.
Onto the flaws bit. Why must they have flaws? Because flaws are what make the character a true character. Being able to change and adapt as the story goes along and having an actual personality are important, sure, but you can't have a perfect character, otherwise that character becomes a Mary-Sue. Mary Sue's are characters that are too perfect, which makes them cliche and overdone. Now, there has to be a balance between flaws and better points for a good character. No one is completely perfect or completely flawed in real life. There's a mix of the two. For me, I try to make characters have things about them that stand out as being strong points, and yet, there are weak points too, such as them being greedy or lustful or easily angered. Those are the kinds of flaws that help shape a character, because those negative aspects can bite them in the ass, which can actually lead to them growing. In my opinion, that helps make a character more human, giving the reader something to relate to as they read. That's important.
The last thing I mentioned for a character to be believable in my opinion is for them to be interesting. But that's a pretty vague thing to say, and I know it. To make a character interesting is really the job of the writer when making characters, because a story can have an overdone plot, but if the characters are interesting and stay interesting as the story continues, then you can keep the readers reading. That's how I see it, at least. I may be wrong. How do you make a character "interesting"? That's all on you. I go out of my way to give my characters their own personalities, traits, strengths, weaknesses and back-stories. Things to bring them to life on the pages, things for people to wonder and debate about. Things that will stand out. If a character I read can interest me in some way, I'll be more inclined to read more. If I hate them, however, or if they're boring and dull and don't catch my interest, I won't care about them. As a writer, I feel that I need to make my readers care about the characters. Because why bother reading otherwise?
That comes to the question of how do I make my characters. Well, I make them by following the three things I listed above as guidelines. First, I start off with the basics, like: is this character male or female? Good or bad? Human or some other race? How tall? How old? What makes them unique? What can they do? Those are the things I ask myself and from there, everything else just comes out. Their history, their personality, whether they live or die, how they contribute to the plot, etc. All these things are taken into account when I write a character, and I do my best to be as original as I can, especially in the creation of their back story. An interesting back story can go a long way, because the history of the character shows how they've come to the point they're at when the story begins and it gives the reader a glimpse at what that character has experienced. Personality is equally important, and that's where the first two elements I said above (ability to grow and flaws) come into play. I have to make sure I use both the right way.
Because I focus mainly on nonfiction, showing the person -- lumps, bumps, bad hair and all -- usually makes a character believable automatically.
They need to have flaws. As much as we like to create this perfect being, that's just not real. Even when we're trying to portray someone perfect, they should be imperfectly perfect still. It's not relatable to read about someone who is flawless in every way, shape and form. It gets boring after a chapter or two.
A character has to have a strong want. And you have to care about him or her.
Flaws. That's rule number one. No one is perfect. If you think the sun shines out of your MC's ass, you're doing it wrong.
I think fallibility is an important characteristic. Your character needs weaknesses as well as strengths, and things to give them internal as well as external struggles. My characters sort of create themselves; it's almost magical how they evolve. I rarely sit down and sketch out a full character analysis.