Learning About Character Dimensions
Creating three dimensional characters isn't easy. When writing fiction, you have to make everything believable. In order to write my story so readers can relate to it, I had to learn a few things.
When I sit down to write, the more I realize what I don't know about writing fiction. Or, how to write it well enough to make the characters jump off the page. By jumping off the page, I mean letting the reader feel and relate to my character's situations. I have lots of ideas of how my characters are going to behave and how they are going to react, but in terms of making them believable, I need to apply some attributes.
Give Them A Purpose
If I allow my main characters to feel as though they have a clear purpose, I can tick that box off and say, "I made them real." Because most people usually have a clear purpose don't they? Of course they don't! Some do, but most don't. My characters are going to have to wonder about what they should be doing. Think about the goals they might want to set for themselves. Or, already have plans in place like educational goals or situations or events that are currently happening in their life. Either giving them a purpose, or working towards a purpose will make them easier to relate to.
Out Of Character
Let's say that my main character is kind to everyone she comes in contact with. She always speaks well of others, is polite, and is basically a nice person. If she is always like that then she won't be three dimensional. She will need to jump out of character once in a while because in real life, nobody is perfect. I may have written about this in an earlier post but now I am understanding why this has to be like this.
In real life we wear many hats so to speak. We might be more reserved and not share our feelings with coworkers, but we might be more animated and passionate with our feelings when we are with people we trust. We are different around different people. That is a dimension that I will need to incorporate into my characters in this fictional novel. You literally have to create everything!
It's time to break the stereotype here. If my character fits too neatly into a stereotype, she won't be believable. Again, in real life, nobody is exactly like a stereotype. They can be very close to one in many ways but they will break it in ways that we might not know about. So, on the surface a person seems stereotypical, but in reality, they aren't.
I will have to continue to create my characters in this fashion if I am going to succeed. All of these attributes will give them depth, or three dimensions. As a result, the writing will be better and the characters will be stronger.
Things I Never Thought About
When you set a goal to write a novel and sit yourself down in a not so comfortable chair, things don't just magically happen. You have to think hard about what it will take to do it well. If you know me, then you know that I will want to write a good novel and not just a novel. It matters to me to get things right and do things well.
The important thing that I really need to incorporate is to remember that I am only writing the first draft. At this point it's not supposed to be good. What it is supposed to be is the writer getting the story down on the page. That's the first draft's main goal. All of the other drafts and editing come later once the story is written. But, if anyone has ever tried doing this, it's easier said than done. I have to discipline myself to not fix what I have written every time I sit down to write.
This goal of writing a novel has taught me a few things. That will be the topic of the next blog post. As promised from the Best Stove Top Popcorn post, a post about how to make decisions quickly is in the works too.
*If you have not tried the stove top popcorn method you really need to do that.