By: Katherine O’Chee
Character-building is a crucial step in the creative writing process. However, we often become too focused on creating and developing isolated character profiles that we overlook one of the most crucial aspects of character-building: the relationships that exist between these characters.
A fictional world would collapse if not for the networks of people and creatures who hold it up.
As a writer, it becomes your imperative to shape the ways in which characters participate in dynamic interactions with one another, as well as the ways in which their stories influence and are influenced by the motives of other characters.
Use these 8 secrets to craft stronger characters, with more authentic relationships.
Whether it’s about physical appearance or personality, describe your character in relation to your other characters. This technique is particularly useful when writing in first person or third person limited.
For example, rather than saying that Anna is five
foot tall or that she is short,
say that she only reaches to the protagonist’s shoulder despite wearing high
heels, or that the protagonist has to tilt his head downwards in order to meet
In this way, you more vividly conjure an image of your character within the reader’s mind. In other words, you’re leveraging the ‘show, don’t tell’ mantra. It’s far more effective to use actions rather than abstract measurements (like “five feet”) or ambiguous terms (like “short”) to animate description.
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