I was really mean to my first character Shanale.
After people read the book they had some pretty strong emotions about her.
Some people called her names.
To me she was a young woman who needed to make changes in her her life.
But I filled her life with so many flaws so that people could see that redemption is possible for anyone. She left a lasting effect on people.
I sent the book to Kirkus Reviews for a professional review and I was amazed by the review the book received.
I had doubts about myself and my writing ability.
I don’t know why when people were giving me such strong reviews about the story.
At the time I didn’t know to ask them to give a review on Amazon.
But anyway, I sent it to Kirkus and was pleasantly surprised by the review.
At first, I was thinking that I received the good review because I paid them. Not because I could write a good story.
I decided to do some research. I looked at other reviews and I saw that the reviewers were very honest with people about their books.
I was surprised by some of the reviews. The reviewers didn’t hold back and that was exactly what I was looking for when I sent it to them.
I wanted to know what I needed to do to get better.
I never doubted the reviewers, I know that Kirkus is a reputable company. I was doubting myself.
But as I think about the review, I realize the characters in my story kept the story going.
Kirkus said it was “a fast paced and ultimately uplifting family drama.”
I believe it started with the characters.
I just want to give you some pointers on how to build strong characters.
I’m going to give you three ways to make strong characters that will have a lasting effect on people.
#1 Give them strong personalities
The characters should have personalities. They should become real to you.
The better you know your characters, the more real they will be to other people.
They should have multiple layers.
Think about their personal lives, their work lives, and how they are with family and friends.
Who are your characters?
Don’t make them boring with nothing that motivates them.
They should be working toward something in life.
They should have their own way of thinking and acting.
Some of the professionals say, give them quirky antics, demeanors that are only a relevant to them.
Make that character different from all the others.
#2 Give them real problems
We all have problems. Your characters should too.
How do they handle their problems?
There are some great books on negative and positive traits by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.
These women break down the traits of people’s flaws and show how real life people would deal with them as well as overcome them.
Whatever traits your looking for, you can find them in these books.
I find myself going back to them often to reference flaws and traits for my characters.
Creating characters that people can relate to makes all the difference.
I have a friend who read my first book Changes. We had met long after the book was written, but she said that she could see her life throughout thee book.
People should connect with our characters. When we make them real we make that possible.
#3 Give them a way to redemption
Give your characters a way to turn their lives around.
They should have the option to start over. We deserve it, so do they.
Even if it’s a series, give them a way to be redeemed in some way.
Your character should be a much different person than they were in the beginning.
Shanale came a long way from the beginning of the story.
When our characters are at their lowest point in life, we have to find a way to build them back up.
That’s how we let people know that redemption is possible.
And redemption is possible. We have the ability to tailor redemption for our characters so that we can make a lasting impact on our audience.
To make your characters real, they should have a strong personality.
They should have layers like we do. We have personal life and a work life.
How do your characters flaws affect them?
How do they overcome their flaws?
Think about these things.
When we mess up, we deserve another chance. So do you characters.
No matter how bad they have been they deserve an opportunity to start over.
Give them that chance.
I hope this helped you in some way.
Please let me know in the comments. Did anything stand out to you?
What are you already using from the article?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time!