A Template for Creating Quirky Characters

As a student and teacher of writing and a writer of over six novels, I can say I have been through the gauntlet of character creation. It’s not easy creating believable characters who are quirky enough to keep a reader interested.

I’ve spent over 20 years in college, as a teaching professional, and as a writer studying characterization and after some thoughtful consideration I have decided to boil down all that experience into a working template that I use when creating characters for my current projects. I find this template easy to follow, a way to touch all the bases of character creation, and something that can be used for heroes, villains and everyone in between.

Some of you might see this template as something you’ve seen before, but it helps to put everything in one place.

Note: Before creating characters, you should probably work from the germ of a story. Your story should have a beginning, middle, and end. If you have this much, you can create characters with great motivation. If not, you can work with creating colorful and quirky characters that then inform the germ of the story based on their background and goals.

Step 1: Create a Skeleton, But Be Ready to Break Some Bones

  1. Purpose: What is the general purpose of your character? Are they the hero, the villain, or are they someone in between? What is their overall goal? What would be their greatest dream? Do they have a job? What is their destiny?

Step 2: Do Some Surgery (Time for some quirks!)

  1. Shift in Purpose: Look at the purpose you gave your character? What one event could derail that purpose completely? Think of a minimum of two events which could significantly derail or side-track the character from reaching their goal or achieving their destiny and record those. For example, in my novel , I made my main character’s purpose to be the first human to serve in an alien police force and to avenge the death of his wife. I changed that destiny by wiping out all of the other humans on the alien planet where humans had found a new home. The shift in purpose can create instant conflict and plot twists that are unexpected.

I hope that this template will be of help to you as you work on your WIP. At least, I hope that it makes you think a little bit deeper about character creation. This is, in no way, all the rules or tips for making characters, but I hope that I have helped you a bit in moving further or at least helped you break through the writer’s block.

Originally published at https://www.rogerdcolby.com on February 21, 2021.

#Writer, #teacher, #novelist. I post articles about writing/self-publishing and write sci-fi - Check out my web site! - http://writingishardwork.wordpress.com

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