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Creating Three Dimensional Characters

Creating a believable or realistic character is one of the biggest challenges for almost all writers. Generally, a three dimensional character possesses the ability to make the reader stay glued until the end of the story. And this is due to the fact that they do not just make the reader perceive them as unique and interesting, but also empathetic or relatable.

Three-dimensional characters are believable as well as relatable on some level. Some minor characters may not be really necessary for the plot but yet, even they can  create a sense of reality.

Without a three-dimensional character, no matter how innovative or creative your writing might be, it could quickly fall flat. Here are a few strategies to make your characters feel more realistic.

Make use of basic details and physical description

This can be done in several ways which includes:

  • Naming the character as it serves as the primary identifier.
  • Note your character’s specific details which includes; the gender, age and more.
  • State and describe your character’s eye and hair color.
  • Make known your character’s style of dressing.
  • Determine the character’s class and background.
  • Carry out a study on the profession of the character ( make the character’s career or profession known)

Make Use of Character Motivation

This involves the following:

  • Giving your character an aim, target, purpose or desire: The goal of your character should be unique to their character.
  • Considering the character’s strengths as well as weaknesses: Provide a well rounded character that would be relatable to your readers.
  • Giving the character a past trauma or fear; This could represent negative events that your character has experienced and could create tension in the character’s present life.
  • Create an antagonist for the character: This provides an element of reality to your story.

Make Use of Dialogue

This includes:

  • Using colloquial terms: This refers to informal words, slang or phrases. This would make the characters sound as unique as every individual you would meet everyday. A character from New York may use slang such as “that’s whack,” instead of “that sucks.” They may refer to someone being “thirsty” as a reference to that person being desperate. A character from down south may say you’re “pitching a hissy fit” instead of saying you’re overreacting.
  • Application of code switching: This means a language shift that is made by a character in response to whom they are communicating with. For example, a Jamaican character would start up a conversation with another Jamaican with a slang like,’Yah, mon’, but when conversing with an American, it would change to ‘Hello, sir’.
  • Be sure that you read the character’s dialogue out loud: In screenwriting, good dialogue must go beyond telling the reader how a character gets from here to there or how the character got to know another character. It must be read out loud to ensure that it actually sounds like something a person might say to another in that kind of situation or scene.
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Jay Carver

Jay Carver is a screenwriter, director and producer. Through his production company J-Style Films, he has done work for companies such as Turner Broadcasting. In the past, he has worked with Hollywood actor Omari Hardwick and won several film festivals including "Best Director".

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