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Writing Strong Characters For Effective Storytelling

Aug 3, 2008
When aiming to create very strong fiction writing, whether in the form of short stories or novels, most experts will agree that one of the most important parts of a successful equation is introducing strong, complex and believable characters. Even if the premise of a story is extremely original and captivating, including weak or underdeveloped characters with little motivation can lead to poor writing hat no one will want to read.

While readers may initially be attracted to a story by its premise, it is their relationship to the main characters that will hook them and give them the desire to keep reading. Without powerful characters that readers can relate to, your writing will inevitably be weak and receive a bad response from editors and publishers.

The first and best way of creating a strong character in your writing is to ensure that he or she is nuanced and someone your readers can relate to. Once you have identified your target audience, it is essential that you write a protagonist with whom they can relate one at least some small level. Your main character's motivations, thoughts and actions must be both feasible and compelling for your readers.

That's not to say any character should be written as all god or all bad; people are made up of good and bad aspects, regardless of who they are, and your readers are intelligent enough to realize this. Just make sure that you write abut your main character's talents, flaws and attributes in ways that are understandable, and even allow them to relate, to your target audience.

One of the best ways to create an immediate sense of concern for your main character, and to make them truly relate to them, is to plunge them into a troubling problem as early in the story as possible. After all, when it comes to writing good fiction, trouble, conflict and eventual resolution are keys to success.

By writing your main characters into a problem, or series of problems, early on, you will create a sense of tension in your readers and make them desire to find out how the problem is eventually resolved (if it is even resolved at all).

And don't fall into the trap of thinking that all of your main character's problems need to come to a resolution that is favorable to the, either. Sometimes putting your characters into an impossible situation that lets them learn and strengthen themselves through failure is a very effective writing technique.

To recap, it can't be stressed enough how important creating strong characters is to your writing. There is an endless amount of writers who may have had wonderful story ideas, but whose plots did not translate into success because of poorly written, unbelievable, unsympathetic main characters.

Ideas for character traits that can reinforce your lot-line and bolster your story abound all around you every day; just look to yourself, the people you interact with, and your own experiences for some great writing ideas to draw upon.
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