I've always loved creating characters. Maybe it's because I'm an introvert and easily get lost in my head or because I'm a kid at heart and love having the imaginary friends to go with it. Maybe it's simply because that's how writers are.
Whatever the case, dreaming up new fictional babies is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. But, despite my love, I used to struggle every day to bring the vision I had of my characters to life on the page.
Instead of the vibrant, interesting people I had milling around in my daydreams, my characters were dull and cliche, the archetypical brooding heroes and manic pixie dream girls and maniacal masterminds you'd find in bad teenage movies and overrated crime shows.
Having these boring characters was killing my story's chances of success.
Why? As I've said many times before, characters are the backbone of your novel. It is their actions that make up the plot, their stories that make a connection with readers. Without interesting characters, your entire novel will fall flat, which is probably not what what you're going for, right?
It wasn't what I was going for either.
So I took a long, hard look at my work in an attempt to figure out where I was going wrong. Did I not know my characters well enough? Had I created boring characters in the first place? Did I simply need more experience in writing them?
I stressed over all of these questions as I reread my work, wondering what I could do to better my characterization and write a more captivating story, but - try as I might - I still couldn't figure out why my characters seemed so dull.
Cue my saving grace...