Monday, October 2, 2017

Fleshing Out Your Fictional Characters

Stephen King said, in a recent blog, that authors must “tell stories about what people actually do.” He stated that “…bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do, such as murderers sometimes helping old ladies cross the street. Since people in your stories are what readers care about the most, it falls on you to acknowledge all the dimensions your characters may have, making them well-rounded and interesting. Anything less reduces them to a two-dimensional cut-out.
Fleshed-out characters create reader fascination, which is what causes readers to turn pages. Give them strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. This gives them a potential to succeed yet forces them to struggle to reach their goal – whatever it may be – love, revenge, or security, to name a few. Tell the reader why they must reach that goal.
Make your characters consistent and yet surprise the reader. Most readers love twists. Give them some. Make them wonder what’s going to happen next. Make them human. That’s what King implores writers to do.