On a recent podcast episode 5 I explored a little bit about how I introduced each individual main characters in my work in progress novel on the first pages and beyond because in my work in progress novel I use multiple pov .
I’m by far an expert in this but I do have experience writing my characters and experimenting. So what I advise in this post will only be mere suggestions.
As a writer you can introduce a character center stage by doing this:
Introduce a character through action
In my work in progress novel, since I have a background in screenwriting I always introduce my character in media res . (I will do a separate post and go deeper on that term later) Media res is a Latin phrase that means “in the middle of things.” In writing, this is used to describe a story that begins right in the middle of the plot or action. And as a screenwriter I was always taught to start the first scene and or action of a scene with characters in motion. Of course you don’t have to do that. It’s by choice. But by introducing your character by action it gives the reader a sense of who that character is.
Limit physical appearance
I had to learn this the hard way especially when I first learned the art of screenwriting. In screenwriting you cannot put a really heavy , hard description of your character that only boggles down the page and seeing mostly white space is usually better . If any description at all, you only put most of the time the name , age and whether their female or male. This is mostly to help with casting purposes . But we are writing a novel right. not a screenplay . So why should we limit physical appearance in novel as well? The answer is rather clear and rather same as when writing a screenplay. It is better to focus on describing their personality and actions . By doing this you allow the reader to fill in the blanks and use their imagination.
Aim for a memorable character trait
This is a hard one and I also had to learn this one well. But I did this with much experimentation on my part. Where one of my villain characters has a little ocd problem and carries around a white cloth to wipe away everything.
By using a character trait or mannerism in your own writing you can help the reader gain more insight on the character .
Introduce the main character as soon as possible
This is a given and somewhat needs no explanation but I’ll give it anyways . But it’s important to introduce the main character right away in order for the reader to emotionally connect with your character and invest within the story itself.
In my current work in progress even though I have a prologue . My main character is heavily mentioned in the prologue and then on chapter 1 you see her right away.
Backstory when appropriate
Of course you do not want to write an info dump. But how do you introduce a character with their backstory? Well no info dump. But instead write a backstory that is relevant to the characters eventual story arc that focuses on formative l events that will advance the plot.
Well here it is folks. 5 unique ways to introduce your characters and place them center stage .
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What do you do to introduce your characters and place them center stage ?
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