Interesting characters are avatars
Over Christmas break, Avatar: The Way of Water came out. I haven’t seen it yet, so please don’t give any spoilers. The idea behind Avatar is essentially what every writer is trying to create. In the first movie, mankind has traveled to a world where they are outsiders. They’ve made these avatars that will allow humans to be transported into bodies like those of the natives. Through these bodies they can experience a world that is otherwise closed off to them.
That’s what we do as authors. We create magical worlds, fantastic creatures, and the most mystical of magic systems. Our work is to create these master pieces and transport a reader through the pages, space, or even time, so they can live, breathe, and feel the worlds we create.
The intriguing part of the avatars in the movie is that they were created with very specific individuals in mind. The MC’s brother (identical twin) had an avatar built for him but he died in an accident, so now, the MC is the only person who has a biological connection to the avatar. He’s the only one who’s mind can be transported into the body that will allow him to experience the Na’vi’s way of life.
When I did a poll asking readers why they stop reading a book, one of the top answers were unlikeable, bland, underdeveloped characters.
Essentially what readers are saying is that if your characters don’t create a strong enough connection with your reader, if you don’t have interesting characters, they can’t transport themselves into your story and experience the wonderful world you created.
On that note, what are some of your favorite, most relatable characters? Let me know in the comment section at the bottom.
Countless authors have written amazing content to help writers develop stronger, more relatable characters. Many of which I’ve been looking into myself on my quest to create interesting characters in my own ongoing project, The Chaos Guard. I’ve put together a list of some great resources I found on character development. Everyone has their own approach and ideas, see which ones work best for you.
Resources to Write Interesting Characters
Researching is all well and good, but only when it’s practices does knowledge become wisdom, and these ideas will become solutions. Here’s a list of a dozen writing exercises you can use to develop, or make sure, you have interesting characters in your WIP.
There are a lot of characters, but here are some of my favorites. I love the young street rat trope so the first few fit that mold
Han from the Seven Realms books.
Vin and Kelsier from the Mistborn books.
Kaz, Inej, and Jesper(and so many more) from Six of Crows in the Grishaverse.
Outside of that trope, I like Hondo from the book by the same name as a lone ranger trope.
I love the character development Horace goes through in the first ranger’s apprentice book.
As a side note, the new Netflix series Arcane has some of the most complex and dynamic characters I have ever watched. It is a masterclass in creating compelling characters. I know this is referring to screenwriting as opposed to novel prose, but it is still worth the watch.
Horace’s development in Ranger’s Apprentice is fantastic. He completely transforms his attitude and outlook on life in a way that makes sense. A troubled youth develops discipline and an understanding of honor and friendship.
Six of Crows is on my list of books to read.
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