Characters are the engine of every story. Quite often, indeed, they live longer than the story itself. How many of you happened to remember perfectly the characters of a novel you read many years ago and not remember the plot at all?
Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
For this reason, it is essential to understand how to write a character. In this article, we’ll see how to master character creation in 7 easy steps.
Step 1: download bibisco, your character creation writing program
Since creating the characters is essential, having the right program to write characters is necessary.
bibisco is a novel writing software focused on character creation.
Our vision is that characters are the driving force of any novel. So, bibisco is packed with tools designed specifically for character creation. With bibisco, you can write a character that your readers will love.
bibisco is a desktop application for Linux, Mac, and Windows. It’s available in 14 languages: Czech, Dutch, French, German, English, Italian, Polish, Portuguese (for Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish, and Turkish.
Step 2: create your project
Once bibisco is installed, it’s time to create your project.
Choose the title (you can always change it later), register as the author, select the language, and you are ready to go!
Step 3: write a character
It’s time to create your first character!
bibisco divides the characters into two groups: the main characters and the secondary characters.
Each main character has a conflict, the driving force of the story. Secondary characters, instead, don’t have a conflict, but they are helpful for the story’s development.
In this tutorial, we focus on creating the main characters: let’s create the first one by assigning it a name.
Step 4: get to know the character in depth
This is undoubtedly the most crucial step.
All the great characters in the stories have one thing in common: they are believable.
Characters who are either completely good or completely bad are stereotypes and, therefore, not believable.
What makes a positive character interesting and believable is discovering their dark side. What makes us empathize with an evil character is knowing that they were sweet and generous before they became who they are.
So, how, then, can we create exciting characters? Knowing them thoroughly so that emerges their human nature, with strengths, weaknesses, and contradictions.
bibisco offers an innovative, simple and fun way to get to know the characters: by interviewing them!
We can know everything about our characters through 138 questions divided into 6 sections (personal data, physical features, behaviors and attitudes, psychology, ideas and passions, sociology).
It’s also possible to enrich the knowledge of a character by associating images with it. One of the images can be selected as a profile picture.
The associated images and the profile picture can be used as a source of inspiration while you write a character or later when writing the story.
Step 5: get to know the story of the character before the story’s beginning
Each of us’s way of being, in every moment of our life, is determined by our character and by the experiences we have lived up to that moment.
For this reason, bibisco provides two tools for knowing the character’s life before the story begins.
The first tool is a dedicated section that describes the childhood, adolescence, school, and professional life of a character up to the moment of the beginning of the story.
The second tool is a section to indicate the significant events of the character’s life, with dates and descriptions.
The events indicated in this section will then be merged into the novel’s general timeline.
Step 6: define the conflict of the character
As we discussed in detail in a previous post: no conflict, no novel!
Every main character has a conflict: a dream to be realized, a reaction to an external event, an inner need.
The conflict leads the character to action and, thus, to start the story.
bibisco has a section dedicated to describing the characters’ conflict.
Step 7: define the evolution of the characters
Every story is the story of a change in the condition of things and the evolution of the characters during this process.
The evolution of the characters is the most interesting aspect because it excites, inspires, or upsets us. It’s what we’ll remember when we forget the plot.
As discussed in a previous post, every author should always ask himself: can my readers see themselves in my characters?
bibisco has a dedicated section to describe the characters’ evolution during the story.
Conclusion: how to write a character
This is how to develop a character in 7 simple steps. Creating story characters is made highly effective with bibisco, thanks to its dedicated features tailored for developing characters.
Now it’s your turn! Download bibisco now and start building characters your readers won’t forget.