Character Sketching in a novel


What is the first thing that lingers in your mind after you’ve completed a novel? The story? The Writer? The Characters?


Which one of the above do you use to relate to the story? I’m sure it is the ‘characters’ in your story. Well, for me it has always been the characters who live even after the story dies away over a period of time. 

Harry Potter, Hercule Poirot, King Lair, Sherlock Holmes etc are a few of the may characters that live in our hearts even today. Although they were all characters that never lived a human life, all of us know the way they looked, the way they thought and the way they lived. Thanks to the literary geniuses who brought them into our lives through their work of art. 

Now doesn’t that sum up why characters form an integral part of every story.
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Character sketching is something that should given the same importance as the plot of the story does. If your characters are explained well then you should be sure that half of your work is done in having your story leave a lasting impact in the hearts of its readers. This means that you need to spend a lot of time in defining your characters and giving them life. 

Here are a few points that could help you in creating your characters. 

1. Giving your characters a name and identity: It is very important to choose proper names for your characters. When it comes to choosing names, choose ones that are easy to pronounce and unique. Do not use names that are similar for the different characters in your story. Keep each name unique so that the readers are not confused. Give them a proper identity. By identity I mean define their age, gender, nationality and other demographical data.

2. Appearance: Only when you’ve described the way your characters look i.e their height, the way they dress, the color of their eyes and hair. These factor are important and they make the reader visualize a character and it makes it easier for them to connect with the story.
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3. Occupation: The occupation is another aspect that should be given to a character. Occupation need not be the most clich├ęd ones. It can be anything that makes the character real. When you meet a new person the first thing you would want to know is what he/she does. In the same way the reader would want to know what the main protagonist of the story does. 

4. Outward behavior: The behaviour of a character makes a lot of differenc to the story. Many a times you can surround an incident in your story to revolve around the behaviour of your character.
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5. Deepest thoughts: A reader is a very inquisitive person. A writer should never undermine that. He wants to know how the character feels and what his deepest and innate thoughts might me. So be sure to describe how your character thinks.

6. Define their past: Always create a story around the past events related to your character. When you’ve decides on a period or timeline for your story, describe how the character was earlier. It is always nice to create a story around the character’s past. You need not always go to the time of his birth to describe about his past. 

Always remember that the strength of your story relies on character sketching. Create characters that come alive with your story. They should leave a lasting impact on the readers minds. Your readers should be able to connect with te characters. Make them believable and draw inspirations from the people around you when you create characters. 

What do you think could be added to character sketching? Drop in your inputs in the comments below…


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