The Building Blocks of a Novel, Part 2: Characters

The Building Blocks of a Novel, Part 2: Characters

Writing a novel is hard work. Everyone who has written a novel or tried to write one (or several) would most likely agree with that.

Much of the struggle today—besides from the writer’s fear of failure or judgment or feeling like a fraud or the like—is based in overcomplicating things. The fictional world the story is set in has to be rich in details, the characters complex and fully fleshed out, the scenes meticulously described, the characters’ actions explained so the reader gets what the writer wants to say or show, and so on.

That’s enough to get anyone overwhelmed.

There is, however, a way to make the process of writing a story a lot easier (at least in the beginning so you have a place to start because starting is the first step to actually getting somewhere). This solution I’m talking about is to simply break everything down into the most basic building blocks of a novel.

What is it that a novel truly needs? A world, a cast of characters, and a story/plot. This is the foundation of every novel and it is the place to start (you can figure out everything else later).

In this post, I’ll be writing about characters, the place they have in the novel, why they are an important part, and give you tips on how to develop your characters to fit your novel.

A note before we continue: many of the categories and archetypes are old and traditional so you may find some roles stereotypical (as do I). However, these are meant to give you inspiration. If you find an archetype stereotypical and want to change it then, please, do so. We need change, diversity, and innovation.

How to Craft Your Protagonist’s Internal Growth: 9 Questions to Consider

How to Craft Your Protagonist’s Internal Growth: 9 Questions to Consider

It’s important for your protagonist to have some form of growth through your story—especially internal growth. Internal growth will help you create a well-rounded character, which is one step in the right direction of crafting a character that lifts off the pages.

I’ve compiled a list of questions in this blog post (and a workbook in which you can answer the questions). These are questions that may help you craft the internal growth of your protagonist.

But first, let’s take a quick look at why growth is important.

Why Should Your Readers Care About Your Protagonist? 11 Questions to Find Out Why

Why Should Your Readers Care About Your Protagonist? 11 Questions to Find Out Why

I don’t think it can be stressed enough that a writer need to craft a protagonist the reader will care about one way or another. Your protagonist can be the make or break of your story.

Crafting a great protagonist is hard, but there are ways that may help you get a better understanding of how to proceed. I have therefore compiled a list of questions that will help you dive deeper into why your readers should care about your protagonist.

How to Develop the Voice of Your Character: 12 Questions

How to Develop the Voice of Your Character: 12 Questions

It’s important to develop the voice of your character(s) because it will make them more alive and realistic. By voice, I mean the way he speaks and thinks. In this post, I have therefore compiled a list of questions to help you develop the voice of your character.

How to Craft an Active Protagonist: 4 Fundamental Steps

How to Craft an Active Protagonist: 4 Fundamental Steps

The protagonist is the most important character of your story. In order to have readers rave about your protagonist—and your story—you have to craft an active one. That’s why you’ll find 4 fundamental steps to craft an active protagonist in this post.

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 7: Mentor Archetypes

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 7: Mentor Archetypes

This is part 7 in a series called The Epic Guide to Character Creation. In this part I will show you different mentor archetypes. I will provide examples of characters from both literature and movies/TV-series to provide you with an overall understanding of fictional characters.

 

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 6: Sidekick Archetypes

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 6: Sidekick Archetypes

This is part 6 in a series called The Epic Guide to Character Creation. In this part I will show you different sidekick archetypes. I will provide examples of characters from both literature and movies/TV-series to provide you with an overall understanding of fictional characters.

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 5: Antagonist Archetypes

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 5: Antagonist Archetypes

This is part 5 in a series called The Epic Guide to Character Creation. In this part I will show you different antagonist archetypes. I will provide examples of characters from both literature and movies/TV-series to provide you with an overall understanding of fictional characters.

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 4: Antihero Archetypes

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 4: Antihero Archetypes

This is part 4 in a series called The Epic Guide to Character Creation. In this part I will show you different antihero archetypes. I will provide examples of characters from both literature and movies/TV-series to provide you with an overall understanding of fictional characters.

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 3: Hero Archetypes

The Epic Guide to Character Creation, Part 3: Hero Archetypes

This is part 3 in a series called The Epic Guide to Character Creation. In this part I will show you different hero archetypes. I will provide examples of characters from both literature and movies/TV-series to provide you with an overall understanding of fictional characters.