SPA Girls Podcast – EP51 – Characters Your Readers Will Love
This week we crawled out from our sick beds to provide you with this delayed episode of the SPA Girls Podcast. We managed to talk semi-coherently about creating amazing characters that your readers will love. As far as we’re concerned, it’s all about creating characters with flaws, who your readers can relate to and fall in love with through the course of the story. We gave away all our secrets, so that you can learn to write the best characters you possibly can.
Writing characters your readers will love!
The plot carries the story, but the characters are important in a romance novel.
You want your readers to relate to your characters instantly, or this day and age, they won’t keep turning the page.
Perfection is boring!!
Nobody wants a character that has it all going on. That’s not reality, we need flaws and challenges, otherwise, why would we spend our time reading about him.
A poll was conducted by RWA some years ago; readers were asked to rank what they like in their characters. Intelligence and humor were one and two, and physical attractive often ranked last.
Interviewing your characters can be a great way to get to know them. For example, what is his background, and family history? What are his hobbies, what makes him who he is today? Put his name at the top of the page and then list the things below. Is he angry because of a betrayal of trust in his past? Has he got a dark secret? Was his family life hard or loving? There are so many reasons your character could be the person they are now, and you need to work them out before you can get a full picture of them.
If they’re cold and unemotional then show us why, and give us a glimpse of the person they could be…would be.
What is your character’s motivation?
Michael Hague speaks about Identity to Essence.
Identity-who they are portraying themselves to be now. What are they like now?
Essence- who do they want to be? Who they need to be?
Often the character’s flaws and problems that come out in the story, are the clash between the Identity, which is who they are portraying themselves to be, and their Essence, which is who they want to be. Hitch from the movie is a perfect example of this.
Don’t stereotype your characters. If you have a villain, give him something that makes him different. (Does he collect soft toys?) Is your perfect woman, only perfect on the outside? On the inside she’s an emotional mess.
Often with romance, you want your hero and heroine to oppose each other in their views and beliefs. If he fights for one cause, she could oppose it? She’s a councillor, and he’s got an addiction of some kind?
Alpha hero’s may be hard and tough, but they can have a side that we glimpse that shows us there’s more to them. Usually they have a protective instinct which makes them honourable, and this forces them to do what they do.
Emotions are vitally important to see as a reader. We need to empathise with a character.
Dialogue is a great way to show your characters.
Pictures of characters can also give you inspiration, if you’re a visual person. Seeing a character can help you describe them.
Appearance to some of us is not everything. Sure, you give the reader an over view of the physical traits of a character, but you let the reader develop their own picture of them too.
The connections your characters have with other characters can also mould them into who they are, and show the reader how they relate socially with others. Even lone wolf’s need someone in their lives.
They need a strength to be good at something, and a weakness to be bad.
Names are also important. There are plenty of options on the internet to pick the one that suit your characters.
Don’t get bogged down knowing every single thing about your character before you start writing your book. Some of it will come to you as the character and story develop.