So today I thought that we could talk about creating diverse characters, something that many people, myself included, struggle with. Well, here are some of my tips to create a wide variety of characters to make up your novel’s cast.
1. Seeing Things Through Other Points of View
This is a very important part of actually writing your characters. You need to be able to see the world the way that they do. To do this, you need to fully understand them as well as their reasons for doing what they do. This is because your character is not you, they may have some similar traits to you, but they most likely will not have the same upbringing that you do. So your job is to tell the story of what they do and maybe impart a bit of wisdom to your readers through the actions of your characters. Your job is NOT to share your thoughts on every single thing that your characters do.
A very big part of this is being openminded to whatever choices your characters make, including your antagonist. However, by being openminded, this doesn’t mean that you should dilute the issue if you are presenting a hard topic to your readers. You should try to understand the why your character made the choices they did, regardless of the fact of whether you would choose the same thing if you were in that situation.
2. Creating Different Backgrounds
This part is equally as important as the first. Your character’s background, the way I see it, shapes the way your character sees the world, explains their decisions. For example, a someone that comes from a highly privileged family would most definitely see the world differently than someone who grew up in the middle of a war. And these differences will show up in their actions and personalities.
So how do these differences affect someone’s personality? Using the example, the person who grew up in the war is most likely going to be timider than someone who is used to having everyone’s attention. This difference alone will affect their actions as well as how they perform that action. And one big thing that shows this (other than actions) is their dialogue.
I know that many people say that your characters should have different ways of speaking, which helps readers differentiate between them. But I’ve always struggled with this one. How do you do that? The main tip to pulling it off is this: understand your character. Find out what is important to your character, the things that they are and are not passionate about. Do they have certain phrases that they say a lot? Do they speak in long sentences or short ones? Are they concise or do they have lengthy, meandering thoughts? Do they talk a lot or no? These are just some of the things that you can consider when trying to figure out what your characters sound like.
Those were my two main tips for creating and writing diverse characters and I hope that they were helpful. Comment below if you have any questions or other tips.