Creating A Character

January 23, 2008
By Taren Blackmon, Cedar Park, TX

Remember those days of sitting in front of the television watching cartoons for hours on end? Now switch to the more recent years of reading books for school, watching a new television series, or just going to the movies. Each of these are different in a lot of ways but are similar because of one; these three things all have a story and what makes these stories great are their characters. A character is usually someone in a book, movie, or television series that faces problems in their story that they are trying to overcome. They each are usually distinct, but no matter how different they can be, they all start out in the same place. Let’s begin our journey through the creation of a character.
A character first starts out as just the idea of a person that an author wants to fit into their plot. Since it’s an idea, its only purpose is to fit around the plot. Then they start off as something really simple or easy to remember. So, for example, if an author is writing about a war, the first character they would pick would probably be a soldier. Mostly the idea will become the basic shape of a character or a label that will continue throughout the plot. That is how a writer starts their steps to creating a character.
Eventually an author starts to get the idea of how their character should look. The looks of a character distinguish them from the other people in the story. A soldier during a time of war would be a strong person because of the training they needed to get through a battle. The more detailed a physical description, the easier it is for the audience and writer to see them in their mind’s eye. This is the second basic step in how an author begins to create their character.
The next few descriptions are more in depth and focus on how a character becomes a type of three-dimensional person. One of the ways a character becomes more in-depth is how they act and respond to the world around them. It’s their personal motivation in response to what they do as well as their emotional state that makes a character more real. The more realistic a character becomes, the easier it is to create a story. The more that the story can come to life for an audience, the more the audience will love it.
Just think how in any story you could have a million settings in places like the moon, a war-torn country, or in a place that feels really similar to your home. Yet a setting doesn’t react, or struggle against anything. That’s why it’s up to the character and how they interact with the world around them that keeps a person captivated by the tale.
After all, think what would your favorite movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and Harry Potter be without their famous characters? What would happen if someone like Homer Simpson replaced Jack Sparrow? Then it would be a hilarious movie, but have few too little moments of action. It’s not only having a character that makes a story, but what type of person they are in their story. These are some of the things, that make a plot worthwhile, and that is why learning to create a character is an important thing to a writer.

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