There’s nothing worse for a reader than a stale, predictable character. Here, award-winning author S. K. Ali shares her top 3 tips for ensuring an engaging cast.
JUN 2, 2021
Shelves in bookstores are crowded. New books are birthed into the world only to find themselves jostling to be seen by readers. Pick me! Pick me! they hawk.
Why not make your book stand out by offering an engaging main character, preferably one not often seen in stories? If you’re writing or contemplating writing a fresh new character, read on to discover how to develop them authentically enough to catch the attention of agents, editors, and readers.
3 Tips for Writing Fresh and Authentic Characters
1. Figure out how your character views their world and the world at large and then mix it up
A big part of a writer’s job is to know your characters inside out. You’ll know things about them that you’ll never introduce to the reader, but just having those details will help you write their scenes—how they react to what happens to them or around them and how they then choose to move forward—with confidence.
So, make sure understand your characters thoroughly.
Knowing how your characters view their lives and their general, greater worldview is key to this understanding. Make a list of their responses to everyday irritants or challenges or happy moments, their political views, their engagement or lack of engagement with their circles of communities, from family to social groups to the huge world out there.
And then, shake it up. Because you wanted a fresh character, right? Well, then take those lists and adjust them so that they don’t run according to your first instincts. The first bits of writerly-planning is often where most people’s minds turn, which means your readers will find them predictable—you want to take those initial ideas and twist and expand on them quite a bit. See More