As I mentioned in my last blog, characters can make or break your story. They need to be interesting and they need to make sense. Having great characters leads to a great story. The goal is to make sure the reader will enjoy your characters, fall in love with them, hate them, or empathize with them, and ultimately your story can be successful. Creating these characters may not come easy. It is possible to have a great idea for a character but not the tools to create one. Knowing the mechanics of how to write a character aids in the creation process. First we will focus on Complex characters.
Complex Character – (also known as dynamic or round character) These are characters with the ability to change their minds and adapt based on a situation they are also influenced strongly both by their genes and by environment. These characters evolve from their core beliefs, skills, and/or abilities based on their experiences and choices. They have more than one dimension to their personality.
When creating your complex character, make sure your character has a personality complete with quirks. Give them a back story so the reader understands why the character is who they are and what made them that way. A character’s back story will explain the decisions, world view, and choices they make throughout your story. What do they fear, what do they love? What are they struggling with internally? How does this affect their world externally? What are their inner demons? What sets them off?
When creating this character you must choose what you want the reader to understand and see as they read your story. When you give the reader more in-depth information about your character, they can start feeling empathy toward your character which can lead to a successful story.
Another critical part of a complex character is to show your reader how they react to situations in their world. Are they a hero? Are they a villain? Are they both? What does your character do under pressure? Do they flee or do they fight? Do they tackle problems head on, or do they walk away from things instead of dealing with them? When creating your character, give them a critical situation that they must deal with, look at how they would react and use that reaction in your story.
A very strong example of a complex and well-known character in literature is Hamlet from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. He is complex because the viewer or reader is shown many different aspects of Hamlet’s personality as the story unfolds. Hamlet takes on the role of a strong character, as seen through observing his actions and responses to certain situations. We are exposed to his back story from the beginning of Shakespeare’s play, and as the reader we can empathize with him as we watch him slowly delve deeper into madness created from the situations he has experienced. Shakespeare shows us Hamlet’s internal weaknesses and flaws with each turn of the page. The reader is helpless. All we can do as the outsider is witness his ultimate destruction and demise as well as the destruction of others he cares about due to his revenge fueled choices.
A complex character is fully a developed character