Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

I need help with my novel?

I'm writing a fiction novel and I'm pretty happy with the story line and the description but I don't think my characters connect with the reader enough and don't make the reader feel like they know them. The novel is aimed at teenagers and the main characters are teenagers also. What do you think I can do to make them more realistic and connect with the reader?

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here are some things to think about and even some characterization exercises you can do that I think will help.

    Characterization, the art of developing and realizing fully articulated characters, usually presents the most significant challenge to inexperienced writers of fiction, because the process of interpreting and integrating the techniques of characterization from other literary work that the student has read in the past is a slow and nuanced process; while a writer may have conceived an interesting and detailed character, it frequently takes many attempts to fully realize that character in all of his/her complexity on the page. From my experience in both participating in and teaching introductory fiction workshops, I’ve noticed three frequently recurring traps that beginning writers tend to fall into when developing characters:

    1. The narrator or protagonist of the story will often be a barely veiled version of the writer himself (in this situation, secondary characters will often also bear a close resemblance to real-life people from the writer’s life). The first problem with this is that the story tends to become autobiography dressed up as fiction, often featuring with a highly idealized and unrealistic version of the writer. While there is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with using a real-life event or series of events as a basis for a work of fiction, there exists a tendency among inexperienced writers to write about events from their own lives that may be very emotionally resonant for the writer, but not so for a reader who is unfamiliar with the writer’s life. Similarly, the writer will often unwittingly write from a position of familiarity with the real-life inspired characters that a reader will, of course, not share.

    2. The writer will often use quick and easy “shortcuts” to characterization, which usually results in a heavy reliance on clichéd archetypes. For example, a writer might try to show that a character is “deep” merely by making the character a philosophy student at Yale instead of showing the complexity of the character through his or her actions, thoughts, and dialogue, or a character in a story (sometimes this can also extend to use of ethnic, racial and other stereotypes).

    3. The writer may be so involved in his/her idea of the chain of events that make up the narrative that character development falls almost entirely by the wayside altogether, and the characters are flat and transparent, means to an end rather than realistic representations of actual people, which, of course, makes the prospect of a reader being in any sense engaged with the story somewhat unlikely.


    In the first two exercises, the central purpose is to encourage the writer to disambiguate themselves from their characters, quite literally in the first one. In the second one, encouraging the writer to write a piece depicting themselves from the third person in difficult situation forces the writer to consider the hypothetical underlying motivations for the actions of a person they’re intimately familiar with – themselves – with the aim of encouraging the writer to do the same for the fictional characters they will be working with in future creative work.

    1. Choose a character from a story you have written or are in the process of writing, then write a scene or multiple scenes in which that character interacts with you, the author. One way to approach this exercise is to write with the assumption that the character understands that you, as the author, “created” him or her and are responsible for the things that happened to them in the course of the story; another is to write as though the character does not know these things and is simply interacting with the author as just another person that he or she has met. For a bigger challenge, do the exercise using a secondary or tertiary character from the story (as opposed to the main protagonist).

    2. Think of a situation in which a long-held fear or anxiety that you have comes true (this should be a situation which could, but has not yet happened). Now, using the third-person mode of narration, write a scene – or a very short story – describing a fictional version of yourself dealing with the situation.

    The following exercises serve the purpose of encouraging the writer to think in less conventional and stereotypical ways about how fictional characters’ actions and motivations are linked – or not – to their appearance and cultural backgrounds, with the overall aim of discouraging the reliance on archetype and stereotype in character development.

    * With a partner, spend a few minutes “people watching” in a public place. Pick a person you see and write a detailed physical description of that person. Then write a quick “backstory” about that person – i.e., a quick synopsis of their background, their personal and professional lives, etc., and then imagine an int

  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with whoever it was that said to kind of base them off of real people.

    I have done that in my story but I have kind of mixed it up. Each character has bits and peices of a bunch of people that I know in them.

    if you yourself are a teenager write what you know. if your character goes through something think about how you would deal with it...

  • 1 decade ago

    Lots of drama should be involved, obviously.. inner struggles, trying to figure everything out..

    Maybe a personality that hates revealing teen emotions just because everyone will assume it's a phase of being a teenager

    Source(s): 19...happy I'm almost 20 :)
  • 1 decade ago

    make the charecters base kind of on real people. because than you can see how a real person with the same personality would act with your character's emotions, and then write down how they look/act and stuff

    Source(s): oh, and cuz i answered your question, if possible could you help me with mine? thanks...
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    as long as you have a morally upstanding pretty boy though vampire character, you'll go far! Good luck!

    Source(s): Neighborhood bookstores.
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