Hello, and welcome to Character Creation 101! I haven’t worked out our syllabus yet, so bear with me. It’ll take some time to work out what we’re going to do in here.
Or… maybe we could just take it one character at a time.
Yeah, let’s do that.
For the next five weeks, you and I will be exploring various character types and traits, and delving into how to write them well, no matter the story you’re working on. After all, characters are some of the most important parts of writing, whether you’re writing novels, novellas, or even short stories. If the characters are awful, no amount of amazing story will help you. Trust me on that.
Today, someone we all know very well...
Who is the lover, you ask? Well, they’re the character whose sole ambition, whose only driving force, is love. That can come in many forms, of course. It can be the love of people, the love of a specific person, of children, of animals, or even the love of life in general, but it is their sole reason for being. They also make a great protagonist, if written correctly, and especially in romance or romantic novels.
How to write someone who truly loves
For many writers, this character is extremely difficult to write, simply because we’re not always well acquainted with the notion of love to this extreme. If we haven’t experienced it, if we haven’t felt it to those heights, then how could we ever hope to write a character who loves like that? How could we be expected to write a character who loves with every facet of their being, from the very depths of their heart, when we can’t even do that ourselves? Well, let’s take a look.
Use Your Heart
Of course, this has to be the first step. Why wouldn’t it be? This character is one who loves, with their heart, so we must use our hearts to write them. Search for that good part of yourself, that lover in yourself, to write this character. Make them someone who sees sunshine everywhere they look—which makes it even more heartbreaking, when something happens in your story, to take their love away. Because, of course, that’s always what their story is about. A story that includes a lover, is always about a lover who has lost their will to love, and must find it again.
Use Your Head
This character, like most others, requires some deft thinking. Pay attention to what you’re doing with them, watch the way you use them, the way they move, the way they interact with everyone, so it doesn’t become unbelievable. Remember that it’s not often in life, for someone to come across an actual lover, so we have to write them in a way that everyone can understand. Think it through, don’t write them in a way that feels unbelievable, and if it’s starting to feel cheesy, don’t be afraid to delete it and start over. There’s never anything wrong with that, especially if you feel the story isn’t going the way you want it to.
Use Your Love
Ah yes, of course, love. That’s what the lover is all about. So find it within yourself, and write it from your heart. Consider yourself as someone who loves with every facet of your being, and write this character as though they were you. In my experience, it’ll help you be a better person and a better writer, in the end. Let it be your driving force, for a while, and it’ll be simpler for it to be the driving force of your character.
As always, the lover isn’t simple to write. They may be simple in story, easy in their goals, but that in and of itself can make them one of the most difficult to create in a realistic way. They’re easy to make wrong, to shape into something they shouldn’t be, something cheesy and nonsensical.
So, when you’re writing one, be prepared to feel silly, as we all do when we’re writing about love. Be prepared to feel, more than you have in a very long time, and be ready to have your heart crushed as the story progresses.
Aren’t we always?
Associate Editor, etc.