To me, it’s the easiest thing to do. I love creating characters and finding out what makes them tick and what makes them live? And yet they can also be the hardest to create and breathe life into.
To create a character isn’t to have them focus onto one trait and emphasis on it, but rather a myriad of traits together and have them work, which is what I believe happens more often. And I love to create new and original characters, protangonist who doesn’t always have the same starting point as an orphan or anything.
For me, backstory shouldn’t be overly tragic, it can be brutal to show how it changed them, but don’t overdo things. Also, for me it also can be in the small things. Whether they were not as successful or anything. I dislike having characters that are either too perfect, or are good in nothing. Or too much in another. To have a great character is also about balance.
Don’t only have one flaw, then it would become boring as that it their only flaw. Have them have other more minor flaws, which can make them more human-like. And never make them infallible, maybe in the areas they are really good in which I would agree, but in others if they are tempted enough they would succumb.
For me, I tend to never think of my main character as a hero, but someone with about as much flaws as strengths. And that’s why I break plenty of rules when making my own characters, as it’s what makes them interesting and compelling that attract readers. I have books I hated solely for the characters, they were flat uninteresting and utterly boring.
And never use a template or a guide to make them, I listen to such characters and figure out what makes them tick. I used to think of them like that, there are rules that I have to follow which only guided me up until a certain point when I started writing darker works, I was left on my own to figure out what was it that I wanted to write and how to make them interesting.
And that’s when reading also comes in handy, as you will have been exposed to countless protagonists and how they work as characters. And also what to avoid, as you have truly experienced them and knowing what to avoid and how to avoid. In fact, I have one favourite character which was inspiration for many and taught me that not all needed to be actions gals or guys, they can be physically weak or far from strong. But rather their mind and their personalities was something that I needed to develop and well too.
For me, the rule of thumb for creating characters is not to go overboard but rather a balance between them and have them come together. And never crank up a trait to eleven for a specific character. What about you? What do you think should be used to create characters?