Memoir aside, the biggest traits I offer my characters are a love of nature and adventure. Now these traits can be good or bad for characters depending upon the plot. Loving nature can lead a character astray; get him lost, both physically and mentally. And seeking adventure can always lead into danger, especially with young protagonists.
Stories are nothing without tension, remember. If we think externally, a love of nature can be defined as anything or any place outside of the protagonist or character. Adventure can be had on any quest or journey to either discover the self or the character’s surroundings. To discover the good or bad of society or the world. And these two traits can come into conflict in any genre.
While I set many of my stories in national parks where a love of physical nature and adventure can combine, the setting for story can be anywhere. If you strip Star Wars: A New Hope down to its bones, the story could be considered a young man’s discovery of his abilities on a quest for adventure outside of his known space or world. In the beginning of this epic, Luke is a farmer on a desolate planet living with his aunt and uncle. He dreams of adventure in faraway places of the universe. His friends have left to find their place in the world. Luke wants to do this. It’s not until other characters enter his life that he is afforded the opportunity to try. Luke’s love of adventure sends him all over the universe. But inside, Luke is still trying to understand his own sense of worth, discover his own abilities.
The best stories have internal and external struggles—even in memoir. Giving characters traits that the writer may possess is a beginning. From there, the traits of characters, both good and bad, need to be finely tuned to the story you are telling.
What personal traits do you give your characters? Are they used for good or bad? Thanks so much for visiting! Please follow Adventures in Writing if you haven’t already and connect with me online. Leave your blog link in your comment so I can be sure to do the same for you.
This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.
Please note that I will not post in August of 2019. I have many writing projects I desperately need to address. Thanks for always reading my Adventures in Writing blog posts and sharing your insight. It means the world to me. Enjoy your summer!