The most important thing for me when writing is to create a relatable lead character. It’s what I always look for in the books I read. Plot can only take you so far, it’s the characters who carry you through the story. The key thing to remember when creating interesting and relatable characters is that this does not always mean a likeable character. In fact, I think relatable and likeable can often be found on opposite ends of the personality spectrum.
It can often be more difficult to relate to an overly likeable character. For example, if your lead character is perfect, never does anything wrong and has a moral compass which could never be tainted then – yes, they may be likeable but it’s difficult to relate to a person who would never question themselves – and quite frankly it would be boring.
A relatable character doesn’t ultimately mean they should be bad – not at all – but perhaps, like most people, they should be flawed.
I always want my characters to make the right decision in the end, but it’s their journey towards that decision that matters, that makes them interesting.
Self-doubt, insecurities, selfishness and the like – traits that plague real people and so should plague fictional characters too. I like my character to deal with internal struggles as well as external struggles. I don’t want my characters to find ‘doing-the-right-thing’ to be a simple, straight-forward choice.
One of the most important things for me, when writing, is to portray my character’s emotions. A character’s emotions are what make him or her interesting – emotions can betray even the most noble of characters. It’s necessary to know how a character feels when they do something. There is a huge difference between a character doing the right thing and feeling happy and content about their choices or doing the right thing and feeling sad or regretful.
Also, when a character does something wrong how they feel is a clear indicator of what type of person they are and clearly conveying these emotions can be hugely important to the story.
Who are some of your favourite characters? Are they flawed in some way? Bet they are! 😉