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Five Great ‘Characterization’ Tips – Use Them Wisely, and Your Story Will Thank You

Ah, characters. They’re the beating heart of any narrative, the drivers of our plot, the very souls that readers bond with. But crafting memorable characters? That’s an art. Like a skilled sculptor chiseling away at a piece of marble, writers need to shape their characters meticulously.

If you’ve been grappling with crafting realistic, multi-dimensional characters, fear not. Let’s dive into the world of characterization with these five stellar tips.

1. The Iceberg Principle – It’s What’s Beneath That Counts

Remember, like an iceberg, 90% of a character’s depth lies beneath the surface. While physical appearance and evident habits play their role, it’s the underlying fears, desires, past traumas, and dreams that truly define them.

Tip to Try: Draft a secret for your character. Something they’ve never told anyone. How does this secret influence their actions?

2. Dialogue – The Window to Their Soul

What characters say, how they say it, and what they choose to withhold can tell readers heaps about them. Do they speak formally? Use slang? Stutter when nervous?

Tip to Try: Write a conversation between your character and someone from their past, someone from their present, and someone they fear. Notice the shifts in tone, content, and emotion.

3. Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Empathy is key. To truly understand a character, writers need to slip into their skin, see the world through their eyes.

Tip to Try: Spend a day living as your character would. Eat what they’d eat, listen to their kind of music, maybe even dress like them. Journal your experiences.

4. Flaw Them Beautifully

Perfection is boring and, let’s face it, unrealistic. Flaws make characters relatable, human. Maybe they’re too stubborn, or they eat too much chocolate when stressed, or they have a crippling fear of heights.

Tip to Try: Think of a flaw that acts as a double-edged sword. Perhaps their stubbornness often gets them into trouble but also makes them persistent in pursuing their dreams.

5. Evolution is the Key to Revolution

People change, evolve, grow – and so should your characters. The events in your story should leave an indelible mark on them, changing them in subtle or profound ways.

Tip to Try: Chart your character’s emotional or mental state at the beginning, middle, and end of your story. What major events triggered these changes?

In Conclusion:

Characters are more than just names on paper; they are the lifeblood of your narrative. When sculpted with care, depth, and authenticity, they leap off the page, leaving a lasting imprint on the reader’s mind and heart.

So, dear writers, next time you’re crafting a character, remember these five tips. Let them guide you, inspire you, and watch as your story transforms into a living, breathing world.

Hungry for more writing insights? Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the world of words!

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