If you are ready to write that novel, you have to begin somewhere. If you have already read, Write That Novel: The Scene, then you are ready to put some characters in place. Characters are the life’s blood to any good story, without them you really do not have a story. Now, you could write an entire book about an inanimate object if you like, just let me know how that works out. The villain, the victim, the coming of age teens, the naive love interest and the one who learns a lesson in the end, all make for good characters types. How your character is described is what will make or break or break your story.
If you want your reader to fall in love with a character in your book, you have to make your character lovable. The character will need to have qualities that will play with your readers heart strings. And more importantly, you have to tell your reader what those qualities are, your reader is not psychic. The back story: telling the back-story of a character is one way to get your reader up to speed on your character. Why is the main character upset? Why is he/she homeless? Why would your character be looking for revenge? All of these questions can be answered in the back story.
Example-James knew where to find his mother, she would be at her local bar. James has found her there many time before, since the age of 16, he has been her designated driver. He was not allowed into the bars because he was underage, so he sat in her car and waited for her almost every night. Most night he did his homework by the streetlight, some nights he just didn’t care to do it at all.
What you have just set up can take your story down so many avenues. Is James the overprotective son? Does he have a drinking problem? Did he make it through school? When a backstory is given to a reader, most people can relate to some aspect of it. Is doesn’t mean that your reader has experienced the same situation (maybe they have). Maybe your reader can relate to the watchdog actions of your character. Or just the feeling of insecurity, with not know what was going on with his mom in the bar. There is something in every well written story that will attract a reader and keep him/her reading. Mostly it is the characters and the part they play.
Another way to get your reader up to speed quickly is by just spelling it out as you tell the story. In some instances, you do not need a back story, just add the quality to the character.
Example-“Winston, did you really put a mouse in Liv’s drawer?” Brandy joked.
“Sure did, she knew it was coming. You can’t prank the prankster!” Winston replied.
No back-story needed, your reader already knows that Winston has a history of being a prankster. You can go on with this story with how he plays pranks with his office co-workers, kids at home, or friends at his health club. Your reader knows he is a prankster so when he pranks someone they will not be surprised.
These are just a few ideas for placing the right character types in your story. Your characters need to fit whatever story you are telling. Make sure your characters are easy to relate to, and if you are using a villain, make him the worst. Give him qualities that will upset your reader, then kill him in the end! Most readers like to see the villain get his. No matter what quality you chose or what role you have your characters play make sure your characters are believable. So, go write that novel!