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Do You Know the Purpose of Your Characters?

In a narrative, there are different characters with different roles. Each has its own story and character, but what do your characters want?

Do You Know the Purpose of Your Characters?

Even when it is not made explicit, the reader knows that a reason is there and that the character has a definite purpose.

What Do We Mean When We Say: “Do You Know the Purpose of Your Characters?”

As anticipated, there are different types of characters in a narrative.
There is the protagonist, the antagonist, the opponent, the helper, even the object, and finally, the facilitator.

Each of them has a specific purpose within the story, even if it is not always made explicit. However, the fact that it is not overt does not mean that it does not exist; on the contrary.

A story is thus like a machine, and the characters are the engine: if the characters do nothing, the story goes nowhere.

To tell a story, whether writing a short story or a novel, it is, therefore, necessary to determine which and how many characters will animate the scene, what relationships exist between them, what physical and personality traits each has, and how they will evolve in the course of the story.

How to create something that characters want

When it comes to creating a character, we need to keep in mind some basic steps that we summarize below.

1 ) Hierarchy

The first step is the hierarchy among characters.

You determine who has a predominant role over another, which characters are the main characters, and which are the marginal ones.

2) Characterization

The second step is that of characterization.

In addition to purely physical characteristics, what character does your character have? What is their history, their past? Consider these aspects, think about them, and write them down. It is precisely these moments that could provide him with a purpose within the story. Or, at any rate, condition them in their actions.

3) Psychological evolution

The third step concerns the psychological evolution of the characters

Characters can be more predictable, referred to for this reason as flat characters, or round characters:

  • Flat characters do not give the reader many twists and turns and stay true to their own way of being without any particular changes.
  • Round characters, on the other hand, are more multifaceted, more complex, and unpredictable. They give the reader more surprises and twists.

This aims to define the pattern of one’s characters. And to create a purpose for each of them.

A good author creates a story and characters by guiding the reader without the purpose for each character being too obvious. This will leave a sense of wonder and excitement engaging the reader.

An Example of a Character Who Knows Exactly What to Want

Think of the Harry Potter novels and the main antagonist of the world’s most famous wizard, Voldemort.

In the first book, one might think that Voldemort’s purpose is to get hold of the Philosopher’s Stone, and we focus on this single piece of the puzzle.

In reality, this character has a much larger plan in mind, which is not shared with the audience until the last part of the magical saga.

However, when the readers find out what the character wants, they are pleasantly surprised and begin to realize that the character, during the narrative, knew precisely what he wanted.

A character is what he does, yes- but even more, a character is what he means to.

Orson Scott Card

Develop Your Characters With Bibisco Novel Writing Software

An author cannot devote equal attention to every character. However, they must do so with the main characters. They need a purpose to lead them throughout the narrative.

One of the best tactics many authors use is creating cards that keep track of the information revolving around the character.

If it were software, however, wouldn’t that be even better?

With bibisco’s novel writing software, you can write about a character and ensure that the reader does not discover their purpose in the narrative until the last moment.

bibisco's character development - Do You Know the Purpose of Your Characters?
bibisco’s character development

Conclusions

Do You Know the Purpose of Your Characters? Sometimes it may seem, in a narrative, that some characters have no specific purpose within the story.

The reader, however, does not always remember that characters, especially the main ones, know exactly what they want and aim for, even if they do not make this explicit throughout the story.

Every moment is constructed to lead to the ending in which the reader discovers what the character really wants, being pleasantly surprised and amazed.

This is indeed the purpose of concealing the character’s will.

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