Adding Depth to a Character

 

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A great way to add depth and realism to a character is to use the five senses – put the reader in touch with the mechanics of your character’s body – let them hold hands if necessary.

Aid the reader to hear what your character is hearing, be it a passing motorbike, or the melodic song of a blackbird. How does that sound make the character feel? Is she irritated by the noise, or does it soothe her?

To get the sense of seeing across, describe her surroundings using details of colour, shape, and texture, which is turn adds touch to the melange, and aids the reader to be at one with the character. Does she wear glasses? Is her vision blurred without them? How is her vision affected by alcohol?

Taste and smell can sometimes be forgotten when writing a character. I often attribute certain scents of perfume or aftershave to my characters, as it’s another way of rounding the character for me and hopefully for the reader. It’s also another way to have a character in the room even though not physically there, only her scent gently caressing the atmosphere. How does she feel when she smells his, or her, scent?

Does she like the pungent smell and taste of garlic – does it perhaps make her mouth grimace in revulsion? Is she vegetarian, does she have Coeliac’s disease, does she have a sweet tooth? You get my drift here.

I keep note cards on each character in my novels. I keep details on their physical traits, their likes and dislikes, their favourite tipple, what they look for in a partner, their back story, and their flaws. I may not include every minuscule detail in the novel, but it certainly helps me feel the character and hopefully allows me to convey that to the reader.

Happy Word Flow One & All

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