What's On My Mind

Making a Perfect Main Character

Imagine a world without people. I wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t be here. The world would be a pretty desolate and boring place to “not” be a part of. The same goes for stories. We tell stories to describe what people do. So whether you’re writing a sci-fi, romance, or action packed amazing adventure, you’re going to need some people (or as we writers call it, characters) to do the actual doing.

This is where the fun part begins. Unfortunately most people don’t know where to start. After all, you have to think up a whole person; this includes their physical characteristics, their beliefs, their values– the whole enchilada. Don’t worry though, that’s what I’m here for.

Let’s start with the biggest character of your book, the main character. This person will drive your theme, fight your conflict, and become the real face behind your new novel.

Photo credit: www.lawrence.lib.ks.us
Photo credit: http://www.lawrence.lib.ks.us

Name them!

Sometimes naming your character is the hardest part of creating the character in the first place. There are thousands of names out there to choose from, so how in the world are you supposed to choose just one?

Easy. Just ask yourself, “What is my person like?” Why you ask? Well, let’s just say you reply, “Brave.” All you have to do then is type into a search bar “Names that mean brave” and see what pops up. You’ll get huge list of names from a bunch of different websites– they are usually baby name websites from my experience– so just choose one that stands out to you. You may want to make sure that name is perhaps the right gender and sounds just right on the tongue. The same goes for surnames and middle names.

If you get lazy or just can’t find a catchy name, there’s always name generators like this one. You may have to click a dozen or so times just to find a perfect name, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Figure out what they look like!

Describing a person’s features using words is really hard. It just is. But as long as you have the right resources and a little idea of what your character looks like, you should be just fine. Obviously there are millions of different resources, but here’s just a few of my favorites!

Character Creators and Generators.

Character Creator
Photo Credit: http://www.kongregate.com/

Sometimes you just need to actually get your thoughts and image of their face on a screen so you can describe them better. In that case, just use a character generator like this one! Although this source is technically a game, I’ve found it incredibly helpful in getting my ideas on a screen. I apologize for the ads though! .___. ‘

Words! Argh!

Can’t find the right words? Been there. Sometimes the hardest part of writing is writing it in such a way that the other person can actually picture what you’re picturing. Which is why they have lists of words out there to help you in that difficult journey of word-searching. Like this: “Words for someone’s facial descriptions.

Find their personality! And voice!

“I don’t go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me.” –Harry from Harry Potter

With only descriptions, your characters are only sad cardboard cutouts of people. They need to have traits that make them relatable and ultimately back up why they are what they are. Picture some of the dialogue your characters would say, some actions they would do, and try to figure out what makes them do what they do. Are they brave? Are they annoying? What makes your character tick?

Of course, there are also some pretty helpful words to help with all this too. If you can’t find that right word, I have yet another helpful something for you! Here are a few words that should help. Find them here.

Plan their ‘Character Arc’

Your characters are people, too. And people are not perfect. Well, unless they are some sort of mutant or vampire. More than likely your main character will grow and change as your story advances, becoming wiser, losing their innocence, and maybe even growing up a little in the process. If so, something needs to change. In other words, your character needs to have flaws. *Que gasps!*

Is your character very athletic but overly proud? Does he or she have great skill but are too stubborn? As you can see, there are a bunch of little scenarios of personality clashes you can spin up. This will be a huge part in your main conflict and force your main character to change mentally and physically.

Lucky for you, I have a link for that too! Right here.

Check, Check, and Check!

You’ll want to have a little something for each of these categories below. Of course this is only to get you started. You’ll need to know everything, and I mean everything, about your characters by the time you finish!

Character Name

Role in Story:

Occupation:

Physical Description:

Personality:

Habits/Mannerisms:

Background:

Internal Conflicts:

External Conflicts:  

Notes:

I hope you enjoyed this week’s segment of TeenWritr! Turns out this was my 100th post! Go figure! Anyhow, tune in next week as I go over something new! Thank you so much for reading this post and viewing my blog.

–Corine

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