Friday, March 2, 2012

Character Traits and You, a Survey

Don't you love villains? Did you notice any familiar traits? Greed. Obsession. Self importance? A disregard for others? Oh yes, all of those traits surface in every villain we watched sing their songs.

In movies like the ones shown above, there is little time to truly develop your characters. Writer's rely on old standby character traits. You may also want to use one of these traits or all of them. But in a book, you have a lot more space and time to really flesh out a character. Both villain and hero come alive to you and to your readers.

I am starting a new theme on Monday to discuss Character Traits. We want to build 3 dimensional characters. So help me out a little. I have a survey on the right sidebar and one in this post. Please take a moment to share your struggles with your characters.


A. What Character Trait is the most difficult to capture?
1. Hope
2. Kindness
3. Sensitivity
4. Shy

B. Do you struggle more with your hero or villain?

Fill in the blank.
C. Does your character have an unfamiliar challenge or personality trait? What is it? It may be a fear you're not familiar with or some other thing that isn't easily researched.

I'll do my best to address all your comments with real answers to each challenge in coming post every Monday.

Thanks for your help.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So far, I've not written a real villain, so that would probably be my answer. Then again, I've not had the need to do so.

M Pax said...

I would say, my crit partners would say, I need to flesh out my side characters more. I'm getting there...

I guess I consider antagonists side characters.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I think hope is difficult to master without coming across as naivety.

With my characters, I like putting in, not so much traits as quirks that give little insights to their personalities e.g. my MC curls his hair around his finger when he's stressed.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I agree with Jamie in that hope is difficult to write. My main character in my first fantasy series is dealing with abandonment issues. It causes him many moments of doubts about his self-worth.

The Golden Eagle said...

I'd also say hope is difficult to write--at least without it coming across as contrived.

Jemi Fraser said...

I like writing villains, but it's hard to make them well rounded!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Nancy,

Sorry It's been ages. I haven't forgotten you, I am just all over the map right now. In Key West until tomorrow, then Fort Lauderdale to finish up a job for about five days, and then I return back to Cocoa Beach to DROP! LOL.

No, there I will be able to start on our fun project.

This post is so helpful... I really don't have trouble with any of these issues. As a sensitive and detail oriented writer, I can flesh out my characters. THANKFULLY. But if I had to pick one, HOPE would be difficult. It's an emotion that can really sound too sappy or naive if not portrayed correctly.

Have a great weekend and I will write you very soon...

N. R. Williams said...

Thanks everyone. So far I am hearing that hope is difficult to write. I so agree. Hero's are more difficult than villains. And that secondary characters are hard to define. In future post I will address all of this. Hope looks like it needs to be first.

I'll continue to check in so continue to leave comments.

Donna Hole said...

I haven't had to write a true villian yet; but I like bad guys/gals that readers can identify with, even if they don't approve of the character's actions.

I do have an evil robot I'm trying to "flesh out". And the MC in that story is hopeful about the future and his role in making it happen. Hmm, yeah, he is just bit naive, but not at all sappy. I hope.

Best friends/sidekicks are hard to write simply because I want to put so much into them they wash out the MC.


N. R. Williams said...

Hi Donna
An evil robot and hopeful hero, sounds like fun. Secondary characters can be worse than main ones.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nancy .. when I read what you authors go through - I think I'll leave writing a book alone! The character/s must engage and be real - a personality that draws me along the storyline that entices me through to the end ...

Good luck to you all .. it's always so interesting to read .. cheers Hilary