Thursday, May 17, 2012

SERIES - Your First 50 Pages

Part 2 of 8

Introducing Your Main Character

Are you having a problem on how to introduce your main character or any other characters in your book? If so, you're not alone.

If you've read part 1 of this series, you now know the importance of engaging your reader. The next step is introducing your main character. So, how do you do this without a whole lot of back story or telling? 

First, make sure you know who she is. What are her likes and dislikes? Do you know what makes her tick? Have you spent a great deal of time with her?

Getting to know a person means discovering the many different layers that make her who she is. It's imperative you develop a strong first impression for your main character. Done right, the reader will be able to expand upon this information later in the book.
If the character they see later doesn't match who they saw in the beginning, the reader may get frustrated and angry that you led them down an incorrect path. You need to keep your character acting... well... in character. If you make them act out of character, this must be intentional or the reader will know.

Who is she?

Figure out who she is as an individual. Who is she at her core? What's heroic or likable about her? What are her inner turmoils? What is her temperament? What is her primary characteristic? One of the vital components of your novel is being able to depict your characters as believable individuals who are differentiated from every other character in your book.

So how do you introduce this unique person you've created? That will be determined on how you set up your book. Are you opening with a prologue or a chapter 1? One way (of many) I decide if I'm going to use a prologue or not, depends on how I plan on introducing my main character. If I'm going to open with her already on stage (so to speak), already in action, I usually start with a chapter 1. If, on the other hand, I feel that I would be forcing my character into actions that would not be true to her, I may start with a prologue that features other characters. Then I can bring my main character into play in chapter 1. 

The whole idea is to decide for yourself what your character is really like, who she is, how she would act. When you've got this down, you're ready to introduce her to your audience.

Remember, keep your character true to herself. Don't have her orchestrate a bank robbery if that  isn't part of her character unless you intentionally need her to act out of character.

In short:

* Decide who she is and what her characteristics are
* Choose the opening of your book - prologue or chapter 1?
* Introduce your main character in a way that stays true to who she is as a person

However you decide to introduce your character, remember to utilize step 1 of this series and engage your reader.

You can find more on how to introduce your characters at the following links:

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this information useful. Don't forget to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on this subject. Are you having problems with introducing your characters? What is your stumbling block? I may be able to help.

Until we meet again, stay safe, keep happy, and keep writing! I wish you the best in your success.

Dee Ann