HOW DO YOU CREATE A RELATABLE CHARACTER

There are arguably many ways to create a good character. In this blog, I will focus on the aspects that would make a character in my story a great one. But first, I want to look back on a character that I did not relate to. In other words, what NOT to do when creating a character.

Arren from Earthsea


Like most others, I generally like Studio Ghibli’s movies. However, this is one that I simply did not grow to like. It bothered me quite a bit until I read this review:

Problem Protagonists: Tales from Earthsea


In summary, there are a couple of elements that a character needs to have for them to not only be likeable, but also make the story work. This then brings me to the next question – how does one make a hero? And how does that hero complement the storyline? Watch this, and you will know.

Someone shared this video with me, which I thought is quite eye-opening. Given that my story takes place in a world that doesn’t exist, it is especially important to find ways to make my main character relatable. In this case, a ‘hero’ doesn’t refer to someone who saves the day… it refers to someone who overcame a huge challenge in some way. And isn’t this something we do every day?

On a separate note, these materials led me to think that the characters and plots should be developed at the same time. This way, I would not be doing ‘excess’ work, which I hear is often the danger when planning stories.

But back to character development. There are many ways to do this, and once again, I found a helpful template about character development in reedsy.

The blog goes into great detail about how one can create a character from scratch. It is especially helpful to someone like me, who is the type to focus on the big picture. Part 3, which refers to the psychology of the character, resonates with me the most as it likely has the greatest impact on how the story progresses. In contrast, the character’s physical appearance and background have less of an effect. However, they are the main aspects that give a character their shape, which helps readers to imagine the story in greater detail.

Finally, we should consider the different types of characters and how they relate to the main character. For them to be believable, these characters need their backstory too. reedsy has yet another good blog on this. Honestly, I am starting to wonder what they do NOT have for aspiring writers.

12 Types of Characters Featured in Almost All Stories

The one that intrigued me the most is the foil, whose job is to make the main character’s traits shine out more. I have never thought deeply into this character type before, but now that I look back on one of my favourite animes (Cardcaptor Sakura) from when I was a kid, I can see why the existence of such a character will be useful. In this anime, Syaoran is probably Sakura’s foil. He even went on to become her canon love interest!

Anyways, this seems like a good spot to end the blog for now. If I were to look even deeper, I will probably never get started on the actual writing. So until next time, bye!   

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