I have a couple of tips for you today… I’ve seen that these are things that a lot of writers don’t even think about for when they are characterizing their characters. So I thought I’d share it with you:)
My first tip for characterization is to use other characters to show who the character is. Use how other characters look at them, how they act around them, what they say about them when they aren’t around. Use what they would do for that character and what they say to the character.
When I was writing Holding My Breath I spent a lot of effort going into characterization. For the bad guy, I gave him a sort of creepy/scary personality. To do this, I didn’t only show his psychopathological actions and dialogue, but showed how my main character reacted to him. My main character is so scared of him that she keeps his threats a secret from those who could help her. She does what he wants because she is scared of what he will do next. Not only her actions and thoughts help to characterize the antagonist, but also the same for other characters in the story.
The second tip I have for you is to use their dialogue to characterize. Many people think about how to use their dialect, the words they say, but now how they speak. Do they speak in long, rambling sentences? Do they mumble under their breath all of those sarcastic thoughts in their breath? Or do they speak in short, blunt, fragments? What do they do while they talk? Maybe they don’t hold eye contact with people. Maybe they stare deep into their soul…
My challenge for you is to take a look a look at one of your key characters and apply some of these techniques. Maybe make your main character more relaxed around his/her friends. If you want your protagonist to seem like a trustworthy person, have another character tell them a secret. If you want a character to seem hard and closed off, maybe have them speak in short sentences with their arms crossed. You’d be amazed how much more real your character seem after using these techniques…
As always, good luck!
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