Planning a Novel: Characters

Once I have a good meaty outline and have conducted some or most of my research I move on to defining my characters. The ones I focus on first are the: protagonist, antagonist, supporting characters and minor characters.

After figuring out the name of any character I focus on their physical descriptions. Along with wanting the names in my novel to be unique/not commonly used, I try to do that with using different physical features.

Protagonist

For the main character I need to create a back story. What has brought them to this moment? What key elements of their life do I need to share?

Antagonist

Simply put…why is this person the villain? Are they just evil? What has caused them to do harm to others? Do they hide under the radar? Treat others differently after the crime has been committed? So many possibilities! So many questions!

Supporting Characters

How do these people become friends of the main character? I like the term support. That is their main purpose in my novel. To support the MC and help them navigate through the story. I firmly believe they are just as important as the MC. Without them telling the story would just not be fun. Like in real life we need family and friends to make life worth living and enjoying.

Minor Characters

These are the people that provide a moment of relief, comfort, or simply a distraction. I love using them in that way. Let’s say the MC is grieving…insert a minor character with a weird flaw that the MC finds funny and can clear their mind and enjoy the simple human interaction.

With any character I try to make them relevant to the story I am telling. I want the reader to care and believe in my characters. I want them to compare or hopefully relate their family/friends to the ones I have created.

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What do you think about when creating your characters? What do you struggle with when creating them?

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