I love creating characters. It’s my favorite part of the entire writing process. I love it so much, I could write an entire essay on why I love creating characters. However, that’s probably boring. If you’re reading this you want to learn some tricks on how to make them.
Before we start, I’ll tell you the secret of creating characters- Don’t.
Readers don’t want characters, they want people. Real people. They don’t want a stereotypical 2-D character.
So what makes a person?
When you first meet someone, the first thing you notice is their appearance. I know, I know. Don’t judge a book by its cover. However, let’s be honest, we all judge people by the way their appearance. Looks are the first impression.
However, the next part is talking to the person. This is when we start to understand. We discover their strengths and weaknesses. If your character is the protagonist or hero of the story, then you should start with their good qualities, then as the story progresses show some negative qualities or weaknesses. However, don’t let their only weakness be someone they love. They should have bad habits. It could be something as small as nail biting. They should have quirks(it can’t only be clumsiness.) Finally, they should have insecurities because even the most confident person can have doubt.
However, I was talking about the good guys in a story. How about the villain?
Well, as heroes start with positive, for your antagonist it should be negative qualities that go first. Let your readers hate him for a bit. However, as the story progresses, give him redeemable qualities. Create him in a way that if the story was in his perspective, that he would seem like the hero. Make your readers feel unsure on whether they love or hate him.
There are some exceptions on this though. If you’re creating a character like Joker, where he kills for fun, then that’s another thing. Then make him psychotic. Let him be demented yet somehow entertaining. Just make sure you can pull it off.
I’m just going to leave some charts I found on Pinterest below. They are useful when developing your characters. If you click on them, it will take you to their original links.