Creating characters – Series Writing Your Novel

In the month of November, thousands of writers come together to write a novel. This is the goal of NaNoWriMo, a writing competition that challenges writers to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. With that in mind, Livr(a) has prepared four posts with special tips for writing novels. Today we will talk about characters.

We have a whole series of posts about characters in our blog, and we encourage you to check them out after reading this post. Today, however, we will focus on the four major character types you need in your story.

The first thing you need to know before creating your characters is that they are discourses. They are representing real people, yes sure. But characters are much more consistent and much more predictable than real people. Characters need to be created in a rational and elaborated structure that is complex and predictable at the same time. Creating a great character is about creating an emotional bond with your readers. Your character is someone who your readers can relate to.

Protagonist: The most important character that needs to be created is your protagonist (or protagonists, if you have multiple characters with this function). The protagonist is — simply — the character that appears the most in your novel. Your protagonist needs a very clear story arc in which he or she transforms himself /herself through the story. Ask yourself, what is your character’s desires?

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Deuteragonist: This complicated name simply means the secondary characters in your stories (everyone except the protagonist). They are very important because they reveal traits about your protagonist and move the novel on. Just be careful to not overwhelm your story with multiple characters — they can make it more complicated and it might create loose ends.

Antagonist: This is probably the most fascinating character you will create. They are the ones who will hinder your protagonist to achieve their goals. Antagonists, as much as protagonists, need a very clear goal and motive. Most of the time, the protagonist is the hero, the good guy, and the antagonist is the evil person. You can and should blend these lines a little, as not everybody is completely bad or good. The most important thing is that they are in opposition.

Love interest: Most novels contain romance, so it is important to talk a little about love interests too. Either if this is the main or the subplot, there is always a love interest involved. Love interests have a huge effect on your protagonist — sometimes sweeping them off their feet, sometimes making them very angry even. The protagonist often denies their feelings, refuses to believe they are in love, and this is usually what creates tension between characters.

There you have the four major character types in a novel. It is important to present your protagonist as soon as possible because most readers will continue reading once they care about the main character. Put them into action right at the beginning!

Did you like our tips? Don’t miss the next posts of the “Writing Your Novel” series

See too: Series Writing Your Novel: Planning your novel