Defining fictional characters is one of the initial, and crucial steps in writing fiction books.

Although characters are the lifeblood of this genre, they are also crowd-pullers that foster affinity in readers.

A fiction book would be dull without captivating characters. That’s why avid readers can enumerate the best teen fiction books off the top of their heads due to the inclination they have with the characters.

If you’re on the verge of writing a fiction book and still struggle with painting fictional characters, here are five rules on how to create the most compelling characters that will have bibliophiles riveted in their seats.

Think of the initial setting

Painting fictional characters could depend on the type of fiction books you’re writing. If it’s similar to fantasy fiction like Harry Potter, you might need a whole bunch of characters to whip up the most exciting scenes and plots.

However, if you’re doing a contemplative type of fiction book, one or a handful of characters might be enough.

First, you’ll have to figure out where these characters exist in your book. The best part about fiction is that you can create the most imaginary worlds that some minds can’t even fathom.

So the question you need to ask is: Where does each character exist? Do they live in a mountain in Switzerland? A pristine, remote island in the Pacific? Or a small hotel apartment in a bustling city?

Whatever setting you think of, this can set the mood for character painting.

Define the where, who, when, why, and how

The essential ingredient in character painting is creativity. You want to make each character stand out from the others – regardless if they’re the antagonist or protagonist.

So you’re done with the ‘where’ details. Now it’s time to move on to the fun part in defining your fictional characters.

Who and what could involve their education, occupation, and more. It could also reflect who and what they are in the lives of other characters or surroundings, such as their workplace or community.

Other factors could also be:

    • Sexual orientation
    • Health
    • Religious affiliation
    • Political stand
    • Culture

When and what could also involve the life stages they’re in which boil down to the last two factors: the why and how.

The last two can shape up their dilemma, fears, secrets, conflicts, opportunities, and the choices, motivations, and actions they make while the book progresses.

Make your characters the ideal models

Fictional characters can be relative to any ordinary people in reality, except they’re living in an entirely different realm. Add certain attributes that will really mold the characters precisely.

Are they mean? Naïve? Cynical? Kind? Patriotic? Wise? Aggressive?

The last thing you want is for your audience to think of each character as a general personality. You want your audience to feel a wave of emotions toward the characters.

Give characters a peculiar mannerism

Make the characters more realistic by giving them a touch of peculiarity. It could be a vice or a bad habit that you can establish throughout the book.

Maybe it is as minor as a drinking problem or as significant as severe OCD, these quirky characteristics will genuinely make your characters shine.

Plant your feet in your characters’ shoes

The best way you can really make your characters “come alive” is to put yourself in their shoes and create them from people’s conundrums, attitudes, weaknesses, or strengths.

If you’re having trouble shaping up the characters, think of your own struggles. Better yet, think of the world’s conflicts and integrate them into your character painting. That way, you’ll have a more concrete definition of each character in your book.