02 November 2006

Creating Believable Characters

Watching a movie or reading a book with unbelievable characters is distracting and frustrating. An audience's suspension of belief is violated by shoddy writing. Exaggerated characteristics cause the character to feel fake, and underdeveloped traits make the character wooden, a straw figure. Either way, when a character is forced, the audience will not believe the story.

Physical aspects, as well as likes and dislikes, make the character seem realistic. Involve the reader in the character's thoughts to add layers of personality. Reveal characteristics subtly. A good way to show character is by what the character does not do. Allow the reader to pick up nuances by showing how the character reacts in a situation. Instead of telling the reader "Bobby hated brocolli", write "Bobby wrinkled his nose in disgust as his mother put brocolli on his plate". Remember, one thing that is constant in life is change. Everyday life forces a person to adapt to situations. Different people react different ways. Add believable reactions, and your audience will be drawn into your story.

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