Lesson 1, Part one
Welcome to Lesson 1, Part one in the course: Creating Lovable Characters.
Part one: What is a character? And what makes us connect with them?
What is a character in a story?
A character is an animal, thing, being, person or creature in a story.
Writers use characters to perform the actions and speak dialogue, moving the story along a plot line. Most stories have multiple characters interacting, with one of them as the antagonist, causing a conflict for the protagonist.
What is an Antagonist Protagonist?
You may have heard these two words lots of times in books or videos.
A Protagonist is the hero of the story, who works hard towards their goal. An Antagonist is the total opposite. They focus on destroying the Protagonist’s goals.
What are the different types of characters in a story?
- The Antagonist
- The Protagonist
- Static – A character who does not change significantly
- Dynamic – A character who does change significantly
- Round – A character who has many emotions and sides.
- Flat – A simple character who has few traits
There are a lot of different types of characters, and a lot to learn too! But when you’re working on your story, this helps!
Why is a character important in a story?
Characters are extremely important in a story, characters make the story intriguing for the reader and drive the plot forward.
Many people ask:
‘How is it that when I read about a character in a book, I feel connected to them and when they are hurt, I feel hurt, when they are happy, I am happy and when they are angry, I am furious?’
Well an author creates a character in a way that they know for sure that particular audience will love them.
Take your favourite book of all time and choose your favourite character, whether good or bad. As they grow older in a series of books, you read their bad and happy days and by the time you have finished the series they are practically your best friend.
Let’s take Ron Weasley from Harry Potter.
He has many followers because of his personality. He is hilarious, fun, daft sometimes, scared of spiders and is a good friend to Harry Potter.
Ron Weasly has a unique personality, he’s not always heroic and this makes him more realistic.
His unique personality makes him popular in the series of books amongst readers.
What makes us connect with fictional characters?
Fictional characters aren’t real (I’m sure you know this already!) but we connect with them as if they are real people. What makes us connect with fictional characters?
- We relate to their struggles
- We feel sorry for them, like Harry Potter, because he is an orphan
- They are the heroes you always wanted to be.
- They have character flaws, e.g. Spiderman is very popular because instead of being powerful and mighty, he was just a nerdy kid.
Do fictional characters make an impact in our lives?
Yes, they do.
And, believe it or not, reading stories with lovable characters has a big impact in our lives.
We spend our time reading all about them, and we actually learn valuable lessons, like learning to be braver, a better person, or to change some bad habits.
Although they are fictional, they can motivate us to push ourselves and achieve our dreams.
Lesson 1: Part two – Understanding your character
Welcome to Part Two of Lesson 1!
By the end of Part Two, you should be able to understand your character, create a fact file and more!
How do I come up with an awesome name for my fictional character?
Names are very important for your character. A well-chosen character name can reflect their personality.
You could choose ordinary names like Jack or Harriet, there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you have a character with a unique name, people instantly recognise it from your book. This can also make them a lovable character.
For example, Frodo. It’s a unique name, and when someone says ‘Frodo’, I’m whisked off to the Shire because hardly anyone has that name except the main character in the famous book series, Lord Of The Rings.
If your character is bubbly and fun, it might have a weird nickname, if your character is serious or wealthy, it might have a more formal name. You have to pick a name that fits the character.
Some unique names from books are:
Hiccup from how to train your dragon
Sherlock from Sherlock Holmes
Katniss from the Hunger games
Frodo from Lord of the rings
You can shorten your character’s name to make it cooler and one of a kind. Like Zanna, a goth from The Last Dragon chronicles, her actual name is Suzanna but Zanna suits her more.
Top Tip! Don’t hesitate to experiment with your character’s name, the more crazier, humorous, creative and unique, the better!
Creating a fact file for your character
Yep, I just said that.
Actually, the more deeper you go into the character, and think more about them, the more lovable they become.
You should be able to understand your character and this will improve your skills when it comes to writing about them.
And besides, writing fact files is easy and fun!
I’ve made my own one, you can copy my layout and use your imagination.
Full name: Maylee Carter
Hair colour: jet black
Eye colour: emerald
How they talk: She talks in a soft Scottish accent and loves to start absolutely pointless arguments and win them.
How they behave: It is not easy to hurt her feelings and she does not let anyone push her around. She is messy, cheeky in her talk and her eyes are always glittering with mischief.
Habits: She pushes some hair behind her left ear whenever she’s nervous. She bites her lip when she wants to talk and makes choking sounds when she laughs.
Flaws: She’s clumsy, messy and has a temper.
That is my layout, but you can add as many different things as you like and detail is very important, so pay attention to that.
Think about things like, what do they love, or what do they hate? Where are they from?
You don’t have to know everything about your character, but at least get some things down about them, it will be very useful!
I’m going to go into character flaws a bit.
What is a character flaw?
A character flaw is a fault or weakness in a person’s character.
Why do readers like characters with flaws?
Flaws make the character more interesting for the reader, and realistic as no one is perfect.
Try not to create a character that is flawless, they cannot go wrong. This is not that intriguing for the reader.
Ideas for character flaws:
- Obsessed with something or someone
- Loves to daydream
- A loud mouth
- Bold (rude, no manners…)
- Dependent (opposite of independent)
These should give you some idea of planting flaws in your characters.
Let’s move on!
Questions to ask yourself about your character:
- Does your character have a goal?
- Did you do your research on your character? For example, if your character is from another country, do you know how they will act? Or if your character is ill, do you know a lot about that sickness to write about it?
- Are you creating a character you would like to read about?
- Are your characters believable?
Lesson 2 – Making a Vivid Description of your character!
Welcome to Lesson 2 in the course Creating Lovable Characters.
In this lesson, we’ll be writing vivid, effective descriptions of your characters, and I’ll be giving you some last note-worthy tips to help you create a lovable character.
Why is a vivid description of a character important?
A vivid description helps the reader to imagine the character in their head and understand what your character is going through.
Character descriptions are crucial to the story, they make the story more intriguing and captivate the reader.
How can I be biased when creating a fictional character?
A mistake writers tend to make without noticing is that their characters are too perfect.
They don’t have any character flaws, they’re so handsome or pretty, they’re strong and the hero, smart and serious.
This is a boring character.
Writers want their characters to be perfect, but this doesn’t make them interesting or exciting.
Give your character a memorable, unique personality that stands out. This also makes them lovable and realistic.
First create a sketch
Even if you’re terrible at drawing and sketching people or things, this really helps you to understand your character, and describe them easier.
Avoid using clichés!
Don’t describe your character using words or sentences that are commonly used.
Her gaze was as cold as snow
Ice flickered in her eyes as she glared ✔️
Making your sentences more descriptive!
He was warm and stuffy.
This is kind of okay, but many writers will probably use this. You want to make it more descriptive, so it appears in the reader’s mind as a vivid, clear image.
He felt like a loaf in an oven.
I didn’t mention that he was feeling warm, but the reader will imagine a loaf in the oven, which is quite hot, and instantly understand that he is feeling warm.
Try to make the description exciting, something the reader will savour instead of skip.
She had brown hair and blue eyes
Make it more vivid.
The wind blew hard and her dark hair whipped across her face, blue eyes cold and angry, piercing into his.
This creates a much more exciting picture in the reader’s mind.
Do not, however, use up all your description and details of your character in one go.
Sophie had strawberry blonde hair that flowed past her shoulders in neat curls. Her emerald eyes glinted in the sunlight as she raised a thin arm and placed a tanned palm on her freckled forehead.
This is a good description. It tells us that Sophie has long strawberry blonde hair, emerald eyes, she has freckles, she’s tanned and has thin arms.
Now, what happens is, Sophie appears again, and the writer goes through most of the description once more because they have run out of words to use.
Don’t use all your wonderful descriptions in one go, no matter how tempting it is. Spread it out throughout the story, or the reader will read a few pages and lose interest.
Don’t make your description bland and boring!
Using the right vocabulary!
Don’t keep on using the same words over and over to describe your character! Different words create the vivid image more effectively.
Like, she had black hair, instead you can use, she had ebony hair.
Instead of pretty, you can use radiant, beautiful…
- The way your character walks, stumbled, limped
- The way your character talks, lisped..
Is your character shy, timid and meek?
Are they strong, firm, smart?
Once you think about these things, describing them becomes easier.
Little details are more effective!
Sometimes, you don’t need a really long description, sometimes shorter descriptions are more effective.
“I don’t want to.” Her green eyes fixed on him and she desperately tried to keep the tears back, shaking her head at the same time. She closed her pink fingers into a tight fist and waited for his reply. ❌
Her angry green eyes fixed on him.
“I don‘t want to.” she said coldly and waited for his reply. ✔️ – This is shorter and much more effective.
In your description, try to use some of these…
- Metaphors – as strong as a bull
- Similes – the snow sparkled like white sugar
- Emotive language – this is the term used to describe words that make us feel a particular emotion. Like, she was sullen and skeletal. These make us produce powerful feelings.
- Don’t create too, too many characters and introduce them all in one go, this can confuse the reader.
- Try to avoid stereotypes in characterisation. Not all old people are weak, not all French teachers are strict.
- Try to create a unique character, this makes them more lovable. For example, to make your reader feel sympathetic towards them, they don’t have to be orphans!
- The more imaginative and creative you are, the better!
Thank you for reading, this is the end of the course, Creating Lovable Characters, and I really hope that you have a great time describing them.
- Phoenix 🙂