All right, so I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good character versus a bad character.
Everybody wants to craft likable characters, right? You want people to be so in love with your characters that they’ll laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry, get angry when they get angry—you get the picture.
So here’s my first tip to creating a good, solid character:
Character Tip #1: Be bold.
What does that mean?
Be bold with your character. No one likes picking up a book where the character is no-personality-average-Joe. Everyone likes a character that is unique. We want characters that stand out. If you’re just like every other character, what’s exciting about that?
Be bold with your characters.
Is she funny or witty? Then make her really funny and witty.
Is he a hot-head? Then make sure he gets heated about stuff.
Is he a lonely outcast? Then let his thoughts reflect that.
What if you want your character to be relatively “normal”. Well, that’s okay too! Just be bold in expressing how normal that person is.
My point is, creating a good character means effectively DEFINING who they are. And that’s where you have to be bold…even “explicit”.
I chose the picture of Captain America because I feel like he embodies both versions of bold…when he’s a weak little shrimp, he is still a BOLD character….namely, BECAUSE he’s a weak little shrimp. When he transforms into a solid, hunky man, he is once again BOLD…because, well, he just is!
So Elithius is the name of my fantasy universe; it’s also the name of my book series. There are three separate worlds in Elithius, all connected by portals: the Golden Lands, the Gray Lands, and the Dark Lands.
There’s not much more that I’m going to say regarding the three worlds of Elithius. If you missed anything I said about them, you can get up to speed here.
One thing that my series has always been applauded for is my characters. People tell me they are realistic, very human, but also very inspirational too. I would say that this is true mainly because I base most of my main-characters on real people!
For instance, the main character of the series, John Hedekira, is based on me. As you would imagine, it’s a lot easier for me to convey the emotions, desires, and ups-and-downs of John, since I’m simply writing about a character who IS me. I also think that writing my story in 1st person helps with connecting readers to my characters.
I thought that today I’d give you something of an overview of my two main-characters, the inspirations and stories behind each of them, and how they contribute to the story.
John is the main-main-character of the series. He’s depicted as a 16-year-old boy/young man, full of teenage-passion, anger, frustration, and cynicism. Having been abandoned by his parents when he was thirteen, the duty of looking after his little siblings (Cassie and Luke) has fallen to him.
John’s love for his siblings begins to deteriorate as they become equally depressed with their hard, parent-less lives, and start to distance themselves from him. Eventually, he loses all feelings for them, and resolves to shut them out of his life and just look out for himself.
That’s when the story really kicks off.
You see, the prologue of the first book is filled with vague imagery and a lot of symbolism, namely concerning how the Evil (the bad guys of my story) affect the universe of Elithius. One important theme that the reader should detect is that the evil inside of ourselves is directly related to the Evil (capital “e”).
How so? To quote the book, “Evil follows where evil is committed”
And this relates to John and his siblings because…?
After blowing up at his siblings and resolving to shut them out of his life, John’s home is suddenly attacked by a band of Evil.
(Make note: John and his siblings live in the GOLDEN Lands. To a certain degree, being invaded by Evil is totally random.)
The Evil kidnap Cassie and Luke and leave John for dead. Thus, the story begins.
John is determined to rescue Cassie and Luke…but only out of duty towards his family. His main goal is that of revenge; he wants to see all Evil suffer.
John, therefore, becomes the driving source of human emotion in the series. He suffers the most out of any character, and falls the lowest. He is consumed by the most hatred, which makes his moments of redemption that much greater. John is unique but, in a very special way, so personally relatable to the human failings and emotions that we all have.
All of this being said, John is still the hero. He struggles, yes. But he is undoubtedly the hero…for reasons that I can’t say here (for the sake of avoiding spoilers!).
I like John because he is me; I get to envision myself at both high points and low points of life, and learn something about myself as a result. Writing a story with yourself as a character can be a very humbling experience, as much as it can be empowering…and that’s the reason why I based John on myself: to learn more about myself and become a better version of myself.
And also because I thought it was just plain cool 😉
Faith Pinck is the sweetheart of the series. That being said, don’t mess with her either, because she is pretty handy with a bow.
Faith is based on a friend of mine, and although Faith’s character is involved in the main romance of the series, I didn’t base her on my friend for romantic reasons. Putting my friend in the story was an attempt to give us something to talk about, in all honesty. Whether or not that has been a success is besides the point. Faith is an intimate part of Elithius, whether it influences my friendship with my friend or not!
So Faith left her parents for the sake of wanting to do something with her life. She is an optimistic, generous person; maybe she doesn’t understand the way the world works, but her heart is in the right place.
Well, along comes John. John gets beaten up by the bully of Faith’s village, and Faith brings him back to health. John explains his mission to her, and she decides to help him…this is the kind of thing she’s been waiting for: a way to “make a difference”.
Thus, their friendship begins.
Faith, as the second-main-character, is the gentle, female counterpart of John. She is, quite fittingly, the force of compassion, mercy, and unconditional hope for John and the rest of their friends. She doesn’t give up on anyone, no matter how low he or she falls, no matter what situation they’ve gotten themselves into. Although she doesn’t have as many “epic” moments as John, I think she is considerably the most “loved” character of the series.
And that’s why she’s a very special part of the series; she adds a touch of sweetness to the story, in a way that only a girl can.
What do you think? How do you think characters should influence a story?