Best Tips For Character Design
Character design in writing is the most difficult and artistic task. Without well-crafted character design no matter how much emotions, drama, thriller and action you put in your story, your story will fall flat and seem without sugar.
It is important that you attain a great level of orderliness and organization before you commence your novel or script writing.
Thinking about character traits or making character profile and putting the other wonderful ideas you’ve gathered down on a paper is very important because a lot of holes might still be in your story, and you’re going to need your creative skills to fill these holes up before you start writing your story.
What you need at this point is design document, and you need it produced using a process that won’t kill the desire you’ve created to write an intriguing story. While computing this design document, you’ll need to design your characters to give their different forms and roles too.
The major challenge faced by most writers is the problem of creating and developing characters. Yes, you have a great story locked in your head and you are hungry to share it, but a story doesn’t just end at writing it alone. The end goal is getting the novel published.
Since you’re just starting out in the business of writing novels, you should make an old adage your watchword – the slower you move, the faster you will get to your destination. Simply put, haste produces waste.
There is a need for you to develop and design your characters, especially the main characters right from the start of the novel. Your characters must be so interesting such that your readers will be enticed and will want to continue reading. Once this is achieved, the next thing you need to do is to design these characters and then remove the main and supporting cast. When it comes down to writing a novel, developing and designing your character, who they are and how they will play out is the hardest part.
Also, another important factor to consider is the character that will be at the centre of the novel and the one that will not.
Character Design Checklist
- Who are these characters?
- What are they thinking?
- Will the audience /reader like them or not?
- What makes them the character they are?
- What events turned them into who they are?
- What are their backgrounds?
- What’s the way out when a key character doesn’t fit in again?
- Will the story transform the characters differently from who they were at the beginning?
- Does the story portray who the characters are? Or, Are the characters the ones dictating the story?
I really struggled with answering the last question. But let’s face it; what’s the way out when you find that your original answers to these questions don’t seem to work anymore?
The precise nature and source of the curious events tagged as characters still remain a mystery, although the characterization isn’t. Some techniques are needed to bring our characters to life. It’s important to draw the muse, unconsciousness, imagination, and memory until it quickens the character, takes clear form and start to act on their own will with hope.
A quick question – Do you think this process, which determines the success of a novel can be narrowed down to a single method? I’d say yes. The idea is to get the basic understanding of why your characters need to come to life and then determine how to use your resources to supply what they require.
Character Design Features (Alluring Characters)
They are the ones that are featured consistently and also take the readers by surprise. In my experience, I have discovered that crafting these characters is dependent on four important elements: need, desire, goal or ambition, secret, contradictions and state of being vulnerable.
Let’s take a look at each one:
Character Design Characterization (Need, desire, Goal or Ambition)
The idea behind characterization entails that the characters must need or want something and how powerful the want is, to depict how the drama will result. Why? desire brings about a conflict, which is the goo that forms character.
Take for instance, Blanche Dubois, one of the unforgettable characters in American literature – A Streetcar Named desire by Tennessee Williams. Blanche lost her family home at the beginning of the story and was left with no place to stay. In her desperate state, she went to New Orleans in search of Stella, her sister to ask that she take her in.
This shows perfectly that giving a character a want or need can create conflict automatically as the world is not structured to give answers to our desires the way we expect.
Character Design Secret
For a typical character, a secret is a trait, or occurrence from the past, which when revealed can change the standing of the character forever in his/her world, among friends, family, spouse, and colleagues. Secrets show us what characters are liable to lose and why it is lost. We have secrets and we know how best to understand these secrets. Since we have much insight, we understand how these secrets impact our behaviour and the fear they create.
We all might have seen and interacted with people who are rude and shy, cruel and funny, protective and bigoted. This trait, which happens to reveal itself during a period of conflict or stress is what makes a typical person unpredictable, thereby keeping the readers enthralled and locked, wondering how everything will turn out.
Our minds and senses are designed to focus on certain things that do not align, does not make sense or things that are changing. This trait is one that is evolutionarily adaptive – this trait helps to study the environment for danger or threats. Also, it exposes us to unusual things.
Vulnerability is the main factor that draws us to a character. This is observed when we see people who need help or people who are wounded, because of the state they are in, we are drawn to them. Though we may be frightened or repelled by their state, the truth is, a person’s injury triggers a response.
Apparently, vulnerability seems to be a resulting effect of the character design secret – the character is weary of being discovered, or it may spin from the weight of his want or his need, just as we are all aware that desire can reveal true nakedness. The focus and ambition reflected in a strong desire can depict inner strength and at the same time, it can make the character vulnerable to being robbed of what he cherished most. The desperation of Blanche to seek a safe place made her vulnerable. Simply put, desires or needs, vulnerability, contradictions, and secrets are always connected.
As you see the character development was perhaps the most hypercritical part of a fine written story, therefore; you can follow the above tips for your Character designing for your story.