Friday, December 28, 2012

5 Tips To Introducing Characters

   Hey! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!!! I know I usually write the advice myself, but I found 5 awesome tips from a website and had to share them with you. I was going to do a 5 TIP sorta thing, but this one is better than the one I was going to write, so here it is.
   Enjoy :)

   Introducing characters is hard and frustrating. As the author you know everything about your characters, what they like, what they don't like, what's their style, how they look, etc. But how do you let your readers in on your characters' lives without overwhelming them with details and facts?

    Show, don’t tell. When you write, you should always show the reader what’s happening instead of telling them. Stay away from introducing your characters by listing off facts. Rather, put them in a situation where they can show the reader what they’re like.

FOR EXAMPLE, DON’T SAY: Sara is a tall girl with shoulder length brown hair. She’s always been picked on because of her height.

DO SAY: Sara was late for class again. She power walked through Mr. Herald’s door hoping an empty seat was nearby so she could slip into it without being noticed.

Unfortunately for Sara, an unnoticed entrance was not in the cards today. Instead, she whacked her head on a homecoming banner that had been hung at the top of the door. Red and gold glitter shook loose from the sign, falling all over her brown shoulder length curls.

“Looks like Sasquatch has entered the building,” Joe Kirby snickered as Sara took her seat.

I hate school jocks, she thought as she took her seat.

Have them in action. When introducing a character, make sure they’re doing something. Again, starting a story with facts about your character can be boring for the reader. Like the above example, have your MC doing something from the get go. From there, you can explain things such as their appearance or any pertinent back-story.

Make them do something that characterizes them. Try to have the action you put your character in be revealing of their characteristics. For example, in the above example, Sara is late to class again. This shows that she’s never on time and is disorganized. If we were to say that she was late to class for the first time all year, this would show that she’s normally very prompt and efficient.

Limit your characters. Try not to have the character you’re first introducing be in a crowd of other characters. If you’re attempting to introduce your MC’s best friend, do so by giving them a one-on-one exchange or by only having a couple other people around. If you’re writing a fight scene with 5 characters you just introduced, bringing in a new one can be confusing for your reader.

Sprinkle in details. No one needs to know every minute detail about your character in the first couple chapters. Instead, aim to reveal something new about them every so often. Maybe they have a secret about their past or have never been the same since their goldfish died in 5th grade. If you were to tell the reader all of this information right away, it would be hard to keep track of. Instead, build the character as the story continues.

Written by Virginia Van de Wall                                                                      

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