C3 – Characters, Cliches, and Crimes – Issue 02
Welcome back to another issue of C3. Last time, we went a little into how we shouldn’t write one-sided characters. This issue however, we’ll look at a few things you can do to actually create an effective character. I mentioned before that one of the best ways was to hang around other people. One way to take this further is to hang around your character. No, I am not telling you that you need to suddenly develop multiple personalities or even become schizophrenic (although that would produce very interesting characters) in order to write effective characters.
What I am saying is that you should try writing your characters as real people. You should know their traits, quirks, and failings. When asked the question, “If you had one wish, what would it be?” Darth Vader would answer very differently as compared to the stereotypical dumb-blonde (or light–haired, intellectually sub–par individual if you prefer to be PC). Take the following as an example:
Interviewer: Well, many famous people have found various things and aspects of their fame to be the most rewarding in their lives. What would you guys say was the most fulfilling part of fame?
Interviewee One: Crushing my enemies, seeing them driven before me, and hearing the lamentation of their women!
Interviewer: I see… And how about you, Sir… I’m sorry, how should I call you?
Interviewee Two: It stoles our precious!
Interviewer: Aha. Moving on… How about you miss?
Interviewee Three: Well, I’d just like to like, uhm, like say it’s totally cool to like be talking to you like this you know? And like, I think it’s like totally like oh yeah, nice to see everyone like here right now like this! And oh, I brought my puppy and he’s like totally cute and sweet isn’t he? And, oh, world peace!
Interviewee One cuts Interviewee Three’s head off
See how that works? There you have three different characters (kudos to you if you know who the first interviewee was) with three very different answers. It should be no different with your characters. If you ask one of your characters a question, then that character should respond differently from your other characters.
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