What do you want in your story, fat or thin character?
When I refer to this writing tip I do not mean physically fat or thin. I am more focused on the depth of the character. Some authors like to call them ‘Flat’ or ’round’ characters. However, I like ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ as it give me a good visual perspective. Characters are one of the major tenets and all stories need them. Without them a story would be empty and its intentions may barely be fulfilled.
However, its not enough to just have a character. The main character has to, metaphorically, ‘speak’. They have to help carry the message of the novel. This is best achieved through ‘fat’ characters..
Novels sometimes make the mistake of having thin characters. These are the characters who do not change throughout the course of the novel neither do not have any emotional depth, they are just plain.
So I ask you again, do you want your main character to be a ‘fat’ or ‘thin’ character?
If your answer is ‘fat’ then let me quickly tell you how to fatten up those ‘thin ‘characters.
Its simple, all you have to do is, give your character contradiction.
Contradiction you ask ,what do you mean by that?
Well lets look at it from this way. In the real world, nobody is perfect, therefore in your stories your characters cannot be perfect.
Basically what you do is to take a stereotype and portray it in a way that goes against the usual expectations. By doing this it is an effective way of making them more complex.
Take a look at the following,
- the bullying headmaster with a tender sentimental side
- the meticulous manager who lives in a messy house
- the shy librarian who goes bungee-jumping
- the habitual flirt who avoids relationships.
Therefore, don’t leave your characters thin and boring, ‘feed’ them with contradiction and make them fat and round.
Call to Action
Identify, and let me know, the contradictions of the main characters in the stories you are reading or writing.