JUST MADE THAT ONE UP
Or let’s look at this as the ability to create characters. The best characters ever created, in my opinion, were on one of the most disappointing shows…in my opinion. The characters from LOST. There was Kate, and Sawyer, and Jack, and John, Michael, and Hurley, and a bunch of others who were nothing less than real people with real stories.
I found the show impressive because the writers had clearly planned out the lives of the characters (or it seemed that way). Now what the show had in characterization, it lacked in plot, but hey, when have we been able to eat the cake that we own (have our cake and eat it too. Stick with me people).
We have the responsibility of creating characters who are not just believable, but who are real, tangible entities. People who went to school. They had parents (unless you are creating a fantasy where the character has no origin). But still something brought that character into your story, and you have to prove to the reader that your characters are more than faces in a crowd and names in a book. I will perhaps spend the week on this topic, and then we will revisit it ever so often because it is THE reason that people read books. REPEAT: it is THE reason that people read books. You can have an amazing plot, but if your characters are weak, then it is difficult for the reader to follow along with the story. (This rule can be broken in some cases where the plot is over the top amazing…like in the Matrix…part one people! Please don’t make me address 2 & 3…those god awful abominations).
Here’s an example of an unbelievable character in the urban fiction genre. Huino, a master karate expert who also is a computer genius who is a pizza delivery guy and at the same time is able to keep a stable relationship with his girlfriend while somehow finding enough time to play video games and save all of the broken relationships around him and at the same time he can quote amazing movies and also he is able to do all kinds of things that are all kinds of amazing…and then…he will…because….
Notice the run-on sentence. And notice how you lose interest before it even ends. The duller your character, the less likely a reader will be interested to finish your novel. So take three of those traits and expound on them rather than having all oomp-toomple amounts of traits which will only make your character shallow and hard to follow, just like the paragraph-sentence above.
So let’s take Huino, and we will say that even though is a master at karate and he is a pizza delivery guy, he is AWFUL at building relationships. Now the ridiculous kung-fu character actually has some personality. He can’t do EVERYTHING right or else he will be as fading of a character as Clark Cant.
Ok. So pizza man Huino is not so dull. He can’t build relationships, but one thing’s for sure. He’s still boring. NO ONE CARES!!! So let’s figure it out. He can’t build relationships. But let’s go deeper. What will make a reader say: “Wow, now there’s a guy I want to meet.” Because let’s face it. In a novel, do we really want to meet a pizza man. Not really. BUT. Let’s try this. Why is he working as a pizza owner? We’ll look at that tomorrow.