Tips To Avoid Common Pitfalls in Developing Dynamic Characters in Articles

How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Developing Dynamic Characters in Articles?

Creating dynamic, engaging characters is one of the most important elements for writing compelling articles and stories. However, even experienced writers can fall into common pitfalls that result in flat, one-dimensional characters.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common mistakes writers make when developing characters and provide tips for crafting authentic, multidimensional characters that resonate with readers.

The Floating Character Phenomenon

Picture yourself reading a story where you meet a character who seems empty like they're just wandering through the report without any real feelings or connections. This is the "floating character" thing, a common mistake. It's like meeting someone who only talks about basic things, and you can't know them.

These characters don't have much going on inside, so we can't care what happens to them. But good characters have a backstory, feelings, and things they want. They feel real, and we start to care about them like they're our friends.

To avoid this mistake, writers should consider their characters' pasts, why they do what they do, and how they change. This way, readers can feel like they're a part of the story.

On the other hand, the definition of dynamic character is that it undergoes significant change, growth, or transformation throughout a story. These characters experience shifts in their beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors in response to the events and challenges they face.

Dynamic characters are multidimensional and often have compelling character arcs contributing to the narrative's progression. Readers witness their development and evolution, which can be a central element of the story's emotional impact.

Understanding the Floating Character

A floating character is active in the story but has little personality or individuality. For example, characters who exist solely to further the plot or serve a singular purpose in the story run the risk of being two-dimensional floating characters.

While functional, these characters fail to feel like real people because they lack the complexity and interiority of a fully realized character.

The Importance of Backstory

The pitfall of creating characters that seem distant and unreal can be avoided by weaving a rich backstory for each character. Just like in real life, a character's past experiences, relationships, and events play a crucial role in shaping who they are and why they behave the way they do.

Consider this: Imagine meeting someone new. Learning about their childhood, their dreams, and the challenges they've faced helps you understand and connect with them better. The same goes for characters in stories. When writers take the time to develop detailed backstories for their characters, it adds depth and authenticity to their personalities.

Research shows that readers tend to connect more strongly with characters with well-defined backgrounds. When characters' histories and motivations make sense, their actions become more meaningful and touching for readers. You can also improve your reading skills through using this.

So, next time you're crafting a character, remember to delve into their past – it might be the key to creating a character that genuinely resonates with your audience.

Contextualizing Actions

It's not just about a character's history each action should match who they are inside. Every decision should connect with their personality, past, and desires. If a character suddenly acts in a way that doesn't fit them, it feels fake.

Like real people, characters' choices come from their feelings, experiences, and goals. When readers see this link, they connect more. So, make sure your characters' actions make sense for who they are it keeps your story real and engaging.

Character Depth Beyond the Protagonist

While the main character gets a lot of attention, it's essential to pay attention to other characters. Don't let secondary characters become one dimensional. Antagonists, sidekicks, mentors, and all the supporting roles should be just as rich and multi layered. They, too, have their wishes, worries, and unique traits that make them attractive in their own way.

The Likability Quandary

A mistake many people make when creating characters is thinking they all need to be super likable. But some of the best feelings in books and movies aren't just nice all the time. Take Jay Gatsby or Sherlock Holmes, for example.

They're not perfect, and that's what makes them attractive. When writers let characters be more complicated and show different sides, they become more real and relatable. So, by embracing these differences, authors can make characters that feel genuine and connect with us more profoundly. 

Misconceptions about Likability

Characters don’t necessarily need to be morally righteous or devoid of unpleasant qualities to connect with readers. Some staple features of beloved protagonists include cynicism, aloofness, hostility, and a generally disagreeable demeanor.

Ultimately, characters should be compelling and internally consistent rather than purely likable. An absorbing but not always sympathetic protagonist can adeptly drive the narrative and engage readers.

The Power of Flaws

In fact, a character’s flaws often provide their most relatable and humanizing traits. Quirks like vanity, anger issues, vindictiveness, jealousy, or other imperfections can enhance reader investment when presented as natural extensions of the character. 

Flaws should complicate rather than define the character. Allow glimpses of redeeming qualities to balance their less desirable attributes. Multifaceted characters ring true to readers.

Walking the Fine Line

Certain unlikable tendencies can push characters over the edge if they hamper empathy and overshadow any redeeming qualities. Qualities to avoid in a protagonist include:

  • One-dimensional or contradictory characterization
  • Unexplained, over-the-top nefarious motivations 
  • Lack of any clear interiority or remorse

While dark, morally ambiguous characters can captivate readers, and ensure a baseline level of complexity and empathy.

Case Study: Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game"

"The Imitation Game" portrays the brilliant but troubled real-life mathematician Alan Turing. Socially awkward and emotionally distant, Turing is decidedly unlikable according to conventional standards. 

Yet the film humanizes Turing by revealing his inner turmoil and noble motivations. His brilliance and ultimately tragic fate make him a compelling antihero. Audiences come to deeply empathize with him despite his unconventional persona.

Voices That Annoy Readers

Just as character actions should align with the backstory, the tone and style of narration should suit the prospective character. Certain character voices can grate on readers when overdone.

The Whiny or Angsty Voice

A negative, pessimistic, or angst-ridden internal monologue quickly grows grating without moments of levity, introspection, or optimism. Too much time in the mind of a depressive, resentful character drains the narrative energy.

The Rambler

On the other hand, long-winded internal musings can also bog down a story's pace. Characters who overthink or ramble on contemplatively often feel more like a mouthpiece for the writer than a real person.

Balancing Internal and External

The key is balancing glimpses into the character’s inner voice and emotions with dynamic external action. Reveal their inner landscape through behaviors, reactions, expressions, and select thought processes judiciously woven into scenes.

Crafting a Cohesive Character Journey

When characters don't change or grow as the story unfolds, the plot can become dull and easy to guess. It's essential to create a character journey where they transform or learn something important. This adds depth and excitement to the story, making it more engaging for readers. So, think about how your character can evolve and make their journey meaningful to keep the plot interesting.

The Importance of Growth

Most reader investment comes from following a character on a journey of growth. Their beliefs, personality traits, relationships, and worldviews should all evolve through external events and inner revelations.

Avoiding Stagnation

Keep in mind that change and development are not linear. Characters regress, evolve in fits and starts and follow a winding path in their transformation. As long as the character achieves a significantly different perspective or mindset by the story’s end, readers will feel satisfied.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I ensure my character's actions align with their backstory?

Thoroughly develop the character's history and personality before writing. Continuously refer back to these formative details and mold their actions accordingly. Ask yourself, "Would this character plausibly do or say this given their background?" If not, reconsider.

Can an unlikable character be the protagonist of a successful story?

Absolutely. As long as they are relatable and compelling, readers will become invested regardless of likability. The key is presenting their perspective convincingly so the audience understands them, if not agree with them.

How can I balance a character's internal thoughts with the external plot?

Try to avoid large passages dedicated solely to inner rumination. Weave in critical thoughts around action beats. Limit internal dialogue to moments of tension or decision, rather than constant introspection. Ultimately each scene should drive plot progression.

By avoiding these common missteps, you can craft dynamic, authentic characters that propel your articles and stories forward. Develop detailed backstories, balance likability with realism, maintain consistent perspectives, and depict meaningful growth. With strong characters at the helm, your narratives will tap into what truly hooks readers—the human experience.

Conclusion

Creating multidimensional, realistic characters is challenging but tremendously rewarding. Avoid tropes and aim for complexity. Let character development drive the plot rather than following formulaic arcs. By infusing integrity into your characters, your stories will resonate, enlighten, and stay with readers long after the final page.

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