10 tips on characterization in your fiction

I want to dedicate this one post solely to some advice on creating and perfecting your fictional characters. Usually I don’t tend to write posts like these but some of this stuff seemed really helpful to me. It seems obvious when you read it, but I noticed its important to keep it fresh in your head as well! Not going to be long, but just more like a collection of tips I picked up and appreciated or really struck home. Lets hope you enjoy them.

1) Have your characters speak no more than three lines at a time.

2) Dialogue is more interesting when characters are saying no to each other. (This one seemed kind of strange but you should read Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea).

3) Let your characters sometimes conceal or avoid instead of saying exactly what they mean!

4) Try using ‘said’ more often than things like ‘cried’, ‘spat’, ‘hollered’ and the like. Let the content of the dialogue convey the tone.

5) Your characters need not be very articulate, it’s more realistic if the dialogues are fragmented in fact.

6) Know all the details of your character’s life (what he/she does, thinks about, remembers, wants, likes, dislikes, says, eats, means), even if you aren’t going to use all of it.

7) Ideally, your character’s speech should do more than just convey information. It should characterize, accomplish exposition, or maybe reveal emotion, intent or change.

8) Know your character’s age, gender, race, nationality, marital status, region, education, religion, profession.

9) Know what your character wants out of life and particularly in the context of the story.

10) Dialogue between two characters is an efficient way of revealing the personality of both of them.

Hope that helps! Sorry if it seemed a little official and formal but it helped me. I’ve never much used dialogues before, but I can see how powerful they can be now!

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