Standing out from the Crowd

Recently some of my friends had a disagreement and seeing them argue really helped me to see the differences in how they thought and responded to situations. This got me thinking about characters in novels and how we get an individual understanding of them.

When writing a group of characters it is easy for them to blend together so it is important to give each character an individual voice so readers can remember them as different people. Having characters argue or have a disagreement can show readers what they value, whether they tend to be optimistic or pessimistic along with whether they think of themselves or others. This also gives readers a way to differentiate characters so that when they look back they remember that one character was for the idea and the other character was against it.

Disagreements in writing are also great plot opportunities as they give a chance for resentment, independent missions, conflicting objectives and betrayal. These can become major obstacles in the achievement of your protagonist’s goal either due to them having to convince someone, figure out who is actually on their side, or complete their goal in secret. Writing disagreements can also be great prompts. If I ever get stuck writing a scene I find it easy to pick two characters and get them to disagree on something. This allows for character development, and keeps the pace going.

Some other ways to introduce your characters to readers include having one on one conversations between characters so that they can voice their opinions, having something a character values threatened so you can show how they react to the situation or show something about the character’s past to show readers how they have grown as a person.

I would love to hear how you guys introduce you characters to readers and how you help create differences between groups of people.

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