Character in Fiction

Posted on April 9, 2009. Filed under: fiction, likeable protagonist, main character, novel writing |

You may have heard it said that character is story and story is character. If you are in the draft stages of a novel, you may think you know your main character, the protagonist. But how much do you really know? Many authors research the backgrounds of their characters–stuff that may not make it into the actual book but that the writer knows about the character. They make lists of qualities, from the color of their eyes to their inner-most secrets. As you create your fictional world and your character, think of the main qualities your protagonist possesses. Add in flaws to help your hero seem realistic. These qualities will in many ways dictate your story, so that the character is the story.
Writing Tip for Today: Make a list of your protagonist’s qualities. Some you may consider include honesty, courage, forgiveness and generosity. Flaws could be small, say, refusing to comb his hair or wearing flip-flops to his wedding, or they could be large, like refusing to forgive someone. Just make sure the flaw doesn’t make the character unsympathetic. If the flaw is that your main guy is an ax murderer, readers may feel uneasy about rooting for that character.

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