Take this test to see if you (accidentally) created a wimp or cowardly character. Interpret the scores and follow the fixes to make him braver.
Giving a character a unique voice creates a vivid mental image of a person because speech is a form of characterization. Word choice, grammar, cursing and even silence, it all says something about the sort of person. Note: this goes for major characters only. It is not necessary to give a distinct voice to background characters or minor characters with only one or two speaking lines.
Your job as writer is to torture your protagonist. Put obstacles in his path. Make life difficult for him, make him work for everything he wants.
Getting the reader to care about your characters requires evoking the right emotion, empathy. This should not be confused with sympathy.
Surface problems reflect the actual story-worthy problem but are insufficient to sustain an entire story. Any author should have a firm understanding of the main problem as it helps to provide your protagonist with initial surface problems to kick of the action.
The hero and heroine archetypes help writers lay the foundation for characters, showing how they think, feel and what drives them.
Threshold guardians keep unworthy people from going through doorways and gates. They can be against the hero, indifferent to the hero or even allies but they will still always serve their purpose. No one goes onto the next stage before proven to be worthy. They can be thought of as bouncers, bodyguards or doorkeepers and represent ordinary obstacles people encounter in life such as prejudice, bad luck and opposition.
The mentor is the one who aids or trains the hero. They teach the hero, protect him and give him useful (often essential) gifts. The word comes from The Odyssey, in which a character named Mentor guides the hero. The mentor relationship often resembles that of a parent-child relationship. They are what the hero might become (and transcend) if he continued on the road of trails. They are the higher self, the wiser and nobler part of us.
The word “Hero” is Greek and it means “to protect and serve”. It is someone who would sacrifice his own needs to help others. In psychology terms, according to Freud, the individual consists of three layers. The it, the ego and the superego. The it represents desires and doesn’t care about right or wrong. The superego doesn’t care about anything other than right or wrong. The ego is left in the middle. It has the it telling it what it wants and the superego telling it what it shouldn’t want and the ego must mediate between the two.
Every story needs characters of some sort to tell the tale. The following 7 character roles are the essential roles in any story.
The villain opposes the protagonist. This makes him the second most important character in the story. Villains are usually antagonists though not all antagonists are villains.
A story is about a problem. Your protagonist is the one experiencing the problem. Why? Because you, the writer, has designed him for it. The bigger the problem is, the bigger the person has to be, to be capable of resolving it. That’s why only your protagonist can resolve your story-worthy problem.
The villain must be as three-dimensional as the hero and larger than life. He has reasons for doing what he does and does things that set your teeth on edge. A good villain won’t just be interesting, he will be remembered.