Here’s a short list, drawn from Margret Geraghty’s The Novelist’s Guide, on who they are and how to craft them:
1. Ask yourself: which of my characters have the biggest stake in the story I’m trying to tell? Have the most to lose? Care most passionately about solving the story-problem? Your answers will indicate who your point-of-view characters are.
In The Land Below, Paulie is the character with the biggest responsibility and with the most to lose. But the Troubadour, too, has high stakes centered around a secret he has kept from Paulie all these years. Both are point-of-view characters who seize and hold our interest.
2. Which characters are the most interesting? The most intriguing? These are the characters the reader or audience wants to know most about.
3. Which of the characters are most involved in driving the action and the story forward? Passive characters are the least interesting and tend to slow the story down.
4. Which characters are the most complicated? Complex characters hold our attention through their unpredictability, complexity and depth. In The Nostalgia of Time Travel, Benjamin Vlahos is such a character in the sense that we are uncertain whether he will choose to live or die by the end of the story.
Point-of-view characters are indispensable in creating interest, intrigue, and movement in our stories. They are the vehicles through which our readers and audience experience the story.
Craft point-of-view characters by making them complex, interesting, active, and with the most to lose.
If you enjoyed this post, kindly share it with others. If you have a suggestion for a future one, please leave a comment and let’s get chatting. You may subscribe to this blog by clicking on the “subscribe” or “profile” link on the bottom right-hand side of this article. I post new material every Monday.