Have you ever read a book where the characters seem so real that it's almost as if they are in the room with you?
Hopefully, you have. That's the sign of a writer who can create well rounded 3-dimensional characters.
So how do you bring your characters to life?
Well, I usually find out as much about them that I can beforehand and a little more along the way as my stories and novels are very character orientated, in so much, as they dictate the plot.
For example, in one of my books, I was determined that the characters would not go to bed with one another, but they had other ideas! So, I stopped fighting it and let them get on with it!
My reluctance in letting them do what they wanted to do was more to do with my own standards and morals and not theirs. We are not our characters, so we can let them do whatever they want to do. That can include using bad language, if it's right for that character, murder, or anything else for that matter.
Although, we are not our characters, you will find as a writer, that quite often our subconscious will come through in our work and you will find elements of yourself in every story you create.
Try interviewing your characters beforehand, and/or fill in a character profile chart for each one:
1. What’s your name?
2. Where do you live?
3. How old are you?
4. What’s the biggest problem you have in your life right now?
5. Who are the most important people in your life?
6. What are your aims and ambitions?
7. Where do you work?
8. Do you enjoy your job?
9. Where do you spend your social time?
10. Who with?
11. What food do you like?
12. What is your favorite song?
13. What is your favorite film?
14. Where do you go on holiday/vacation?
15. How much money do you have in the bank right now?
16. What are your hobbies and interests?
17. What sort of a car do you drive?
18. Who or what do you hate most?
19. Who or what do you like most?
20. What is your favorite saying/quotation?
21. What do you regret not doing?
22. What would it say on your headstone?
These are just some ideas for you to try; you can probably come up with many more.
Don't forget to show your characters as living, breathing beings by making use of all five senses and demonstrating their little quirks and habits.
Good characterization is vital in a short story or novel as character drives plot.