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By Johannes Helmold

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I like comparing a writer to a demiurge; a writer, regardless of their level of professionalism, is a person who creates worlds (well, unless they write academic essays). However, a world cannot be uninhabited, so a writer has to invent characters, build relationships between them, describe backgrounds, and so on. Rather close to what a creator does, right?

So, considering that the human being is the top of creation, I’d like to discuss some essentials of creating one. On paper, of course.

1. Think about your character’s background. Whether to describe him or her in details, or in a couple of stingy smears is up to you. You can completely omit describing your character’s bio—it’s up to you. What matters here is that knowing a background, you can imagine your character’s personality for yourself (which is crucial), and make him or her more convex and alive. A background can be your character’s biography (either complete or some of its parts most important for the plot), milestones from their lives, info about their parents, education, romantic experiences, memories, and so on. Providing a character with a background is the key condition to proceed to step two, which is:

2. Create your character’s personality. This would seem difficult if you tried to do it from scratch. However, when you know the origins of your character, it is much easier for you to decide what kind of person they are. Was your character mistreated in his or her childhood? A good start for an individual with an inferiority-complex (or a sociopathic person, or whatever). Was he or she an adventurer? This could make them a brave and optimistic person. Was the character raised in a rich family? In this case, they might grow up to be a well-mannered but cold person. Unleash your fantasy. This is your world, and each of its inhabitants is in your hands.

3. Think about your character’s speech. This is kind of tricky, because the best way to make written speech look natural is to write as you would speak yourself; at the same time, you must consider the character’s background and personality. Sailors speak differently than aristocrats. The same refers to how your characters perform all kinds of actions, either minor ones, or those that affect the entire story.

4. Imagine you are an FBI agent, searching for a gang of criminals. Most likely, the agent would have a file on every member of the gang. You can do the same: make up files for your characters, with schematic outlines of their backgrounds, personality traits, relationships with other characters, hidden motives, and other relevant information. This will help you remain consistent, and make your characters appear as real people on page.

These are just some of the tips for an amateur demiurg. Of course, creating a character can be a much more complicated process.

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