4. Creating Human Characters

Page 1 of 9 | Heart of the Story | How Do You? | Personality | Discovering Your Characters (1) | Discovering Your Characters (2) | Show, Don't Tell |
| Dialogue | Minor Characters | Don't Try This at Home! |

The Heart of the Story
Characters are at the heart of any work of fiction. No matter what else your story is about—alien worlds, or dragons, or alternate histories—it won't be important to your readers until they see it through the eyes of your characters. It makes no difference if a story is science fiction or fantasy, mystery or romance or mainstream "realism." It's true even if a story seems to be about science or technology—because in reality, it's about the science or technology's effect on people. Fantasy and magic? The same thing applies.

Your readers are human. They want to care about the characters in your story. They want to laugh or cry. They want to nod with understanding, or sit on the edge of their seats, crying out a warning to the heroine who can't hear them: "Don't walk through that door, you fool!"

The surest way to make your readers care about the people in the story is to create and portray human characters who feel real, who talk as real people talk, who have hopes and fears and loves and hates and concerns that the reader can identify with.

(Aliens and other nonhumans are characters, too, of course. We'll have more to say about them in the next section, Creating Aliens.)


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