How To Create Believable Fantasy Characters

By on January 22, 2020
How To Create Believable Fantasy Characters - Writer's Life.org

If you are writing a fantasy story, it can be all too easy to focus so hard on being imaginative and otherworldly that you forget your characters need to be relatable and engaging too.

Fantasy characters can be werewolves, vampires, or giant talking octopuses wearing sparkling hi-top trainers. It doesn't matter how strange they are; they still have to speak to the reader and make them care about their journey and their goals. If this fails to happen, your book won't generate interest, and people won't bother to keep on turning those pages. 

Making characters relatable in any novel can be challenging, but it's even harder when that character is one that's completely fantastical. However, you must do so if you wish your book to be successful, and with that in mind, here are some helpful tips.

Pay attention to physical descriptions

Readers want to be able to visualize characters in their mind's eye, so paying attention to how you describe them is essential. If a reader struggles to picture your character, they'll have trouble believing they exist. This doesn't mean they have to have human qualities, but they do need to look like things readers have seen before. So use colours, textures and proportions that can be easily conjured in the imagination. For example, saying that your character was as tall as a tree and as wide as a truck helps your reader gain some perspective, and even if they have 30 wriggling green arms and one giant, gaping black eye, they'll still be able to picture them which, in turn, will help them feel authentic.

Give them human problems

Giving your fantasy characters human problems and struggles is the easiest way to ensure that your reader can find a way to relate. By having them deal with human emotions such as love and hatred, jealousy, anger, bereavement, trust, and so on, the reader will be able to empathize with what they are going through which will naturally make them care more about what happens to the characters as the story unfolds.

Draw inspiration from the real world

While your fantasy world may only exist in your head and on the page, if it is so otherworldly that it's unrecognizable in any way to the human world, the reader might struggle to find their place in it. The real world has so many instances of beauty, of horror, and everything in between, and these real-world issues can be reflected in the fantasy world to help readers resonate with the characters that live there. Take a step back and look at the things that are happening all around us, from your local community to huge global concerns. By drawing on these themes and integrating them into your story, you can hope to pique your reader's interest and keep them hooked throughout. 

By using the tips above, you can ensure that your fantasy characters are believable and relatable, however weird and wonderful they might be!

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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