Hello, and welcome to Novel With Me. The series which takes you on a writing journey from start to finish.
Today we’re going to be talking about what’s important when creating your characters. And no, it’s not their favourite colour, or their earliest memory. If you’re looking for more detail, you can check out the video here
Characters are probably the most important element in your novel, so it’s important that you do them justice. Readers are more likely to follow good characters through a bad plot, than to follow bad characters through a good plot.
This is because it’s the characters your readers are invested in. Readers will follow well written, relatable characters anywhere, and through anything. The reader wants to know what happens next. Wants to know how your character grows and changes and handles whatever you put them through. You want the reader walking away, unable to stop thinking about them.
Readers can and will see themselves in your characters, relate to them on a personal level. This is why your characters are important.
I’ve spoken a bit about how I create characters before, (or, their personality at least,) and I’m not going to rehash it here.
We are going to continue the conversation on characters, and talk about their goals and motivations
Your characters goals are important. The whole point of the novel comes from the fact your character wants something, and their motivation to achieve this is what drives the plot forward.
The goal is what a character wants, the motivation is why the character wants it.
There are two types of goal to give your character. An external goal, and an internal goal.
Your external goal is something the reader, and other characters are aware of. To destroy the ring, or break into a high security prison or retrieve the Golden Fleece.
Your internal goal is something other characters don’t know about, but the reader might. These can be more personal, emotional goals like overcoming a fear, dealing with anxiety, or gaining confidence to do something.
This is something else entirely. Sure, their goal might be to find a magical object. But what motivates them to achieve that goal? Do they need it in order to save someone’s life, or end a war? Do they want it to fulfil a selfish desire?
There has to be something in the plot to make the character continue to want to achieve their goal
Remember that the goals of the character are directly linked to the plot. You character is what pushed the plot forward, and they can only do that if there is something they want to achieve. Goals and motivations can change within the plot. You just need to make sure they’re always obvious to the reader.
Good thoughts and happy writing