How to Create a Good Book Character

When writing a novel, your characters are key to success. You need to make sure that these creations are believable, so readers can engage with your characters and fall into your imaginary world. Hayim Oshky explains how to create a good book character.

Look for inspiration

Take your favourite authors from your chosen genre and see how they write their characters, so you can learn from the best. Let’s say you plan to write a detective novel. You may want to examine a character like Sherlock Holmes because as the Top Tens Blog notes, he had a major “impact… on pop culture and literature,” so he serves as a great example of how to write a detective novel hero.

Draw up a profile

When marketing your book, learn how to write an email marketing campaign so you can conduct market research to determine your target reader. Take the same approach when creating a character. Ask yourself the same questions that you would when defining your readership; who are they, what’s their gender, how old are they, what are their interests and passions? By taking this approach, you can establish the foundations of your character’s life and personality.

Know their past

According to the BBC, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling knew her popular character Albus Dumbledore’s was gay, but never directly revealed it in her books. Take your que from the UK’s most successful living author and create a strong backstory for your characters. You may never use it directly in your novel, but our past defines who we are as human beings, so by using this strategy you can determine how your character’s history informs their choices and actions in your book.

Plot their arc

It is vital that you develop a detailed story arc for your character, so your readers go on a journey when they pick up your book. Ask yourself how your character changes and grows throughout your novel. The Creative Penn Blog points out that “our characters are always surprising us – insisting on going left when we really, really wanted them to go right.” In other words your character’s arc needs to relate to their personality, or your novel simply won’t be believable.

Define their motivations

The most important question you need to ask is, what is your character’s motivation? Let’s say that your character is an adulterer. Nobody cheats on their partner for no reason at all, so why are they? Are there problems in the relationship? Are they a serial adulterer and if so why? Define why your character takes the actions they do, so you can justify their behaviour to readers, because believable characters, like real people, don’t live in a vacuum.

Know your character

If you’re looking to craft a compelling book character, your success all boils down to one thing. Make sure you know your character inside out. This is the only way that you can write a character who seems real, allowing them to become people readers identify with and ultimately, believe in.

Thank you for reading… Hayim Oshky.

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