Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Character's a Character, No Matter How Small

In this post I want to express the importance of 'small' characters; those extra characters that our MC meets throughout their journey.

Many authors seem to forget them. They forget to take time making them real, which makes them seem flat and useless. When you write a story, every character needs personality. At least jot down the basics (appearance, stronger positive trait, strongest negative trait, religion, and influence on the MC). Get to know them. In my opinion, you can't write about someone you don't know and make them seem real.

Granted, you should spend the most time creating your Main Character, but that doesn't mean ditch the others and make them up as you go. Have a plan for them. Give them a purpose. Otherwise, they're just dead weight in your story.

One way to study this is to watch movies and TV shows. Now, before you get all hoity toity with me, hear me out. Movies are stories that we watch, instead of read. When you watch movies, you can understand characters faster than when reading. It's all in their expression, body language, tone of voice, appearance, and personality. In books, it takes time to know a character, but in movies it usually doesn't.

Take The Hunger Games, for example.

-In the book, we slowly begin to know Katniss. Her talents. Her lifestyle. Her government.
-In the movie, you need only to watch ten minutes to know all of those facts and more.

Or, perhaps even a better example is one of my favorite shows: Once Upon a Time.

-Each character has a purpose and sometimes that purpose is even greater than you had expected. 
-Even when the characters don't have a huge impact, we still get a sense of who they are.
-You can make almost every character related to each other in some way, just to make things amazingly complicated.

Also, character profiling is always good practice. My very first blog post was an outline I found online and it has really helped me when I'm creating characters!

Here's the link:

Character Profile Outline

I hope that this post has either helped or inspired you to flesh out and spend time on ALL of your characters.


  1. Hey Lily! It's Leah (from ballroom :) ) so I just found your blog and I love reading it! I love reading your book reviews- my list of books to read has just grown a lot :) One thing- Have you ever read the other books by Melanie Dickerson? I haven't read her first one (the one you reviewed) but my friends said the first one wasn't her best. I've read all the others though (except her newest one, The Captive Maiden. It's sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me... just a couple more chapters of Harry Potter left to finish!) and they are all really good! Her books just keep getting better and better. So I would suggest you read the other books :)
    Ooh Once Upon a Time is my favorite tv show!! I'm at the beginning of the 3rd season. I'm trying to finish it really quick so I can watch the 4th season on tv next month :)
    I was reading some of your other posts and I found that you also love Sherlock! That's another one of my favorite shows- I just finished watching the last episode of the 3rd season last night. Wow I was so surprised at what happened! I love how they always make these surprising plot twists that you aren't even suspecting. Have you seen it yet?
    Ok gotta go now! See you at ballroom next time! And that reminds me- who are you going as for literary character night? I'm still trying to decide. It's between Pocohantas (which I really want to do but I don't know if I have time to make the dress) or Scharazade (from the Arabian Nights- this would be really easy because I could just wear one of my Indian outfits). Do you know what you are doing?

    1. Hi Leah! I'm so glad you enjoy my blog :D No, I haven't read any of Dickerson's other books, but I'll definitely look for them at my library! I can't wait for season four of OUaT either, the season 3 finally is such a cliffhanger! Yes, I've seen season three of Sherlock and I'm still trying to decide if I believe (so and so) is really back or not...
      I'm not quite decided on whom I'm going as :\ You should totally wear your Indian outfit! That would be so pretty! <3

      Thanks again for reading my blog, it means a lot! :)

    2. Yes you definitely should check them out! They are all at the Williasmbug library if that's where you go.
      I actually found out the ending of season 3 because my friend told me... I was so surpised!
      I know! When I saw it I was like, "NO!!! He can't be back- he's such a creep!!!" and then when that other certain person turned around (you probably know who I'm talking about) I was so upset! Ugh now we have to wait a WHOLE year to watch the next season :(
      Yeah I really want to but I feel if I did dress up like that people wouldn't know who I am and they'll just think I'm some Indian girl... Maybe I'll just write it on my nametag!
      Aww you're welcome Lily! I think it's so cool that you write your own blog!


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