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why writing strong characters for your short stories is important

why writing strong characters for your short stories is important

The quality of the characters in any fictional piece of literature is a great gauge of the ability of the writer & measure of the believability & therefore the likely success of a piece of writing.

So you have some great new ideas for your next short story but have you given any thought to the characters who are to feature in this exciting new tale?

The importance of creating strong, memorable characters within a short story is often overlooked. However, when writing in this format creating the character or characters is arguably one of the most important criteria when aiming to become a published author. This is due, primarily, to the length of the short story and the fact that the writer will not have time to build and develop a complex plot. This likely leaves the characters as the only central theme in the whole story.

Additionally, the average length of a short story also limits the amount of time that you can spend developing your characters, and as such it is often a good idea to choose only one main character thereby giving you the time you will need to create a strong effective persona. Of course, limiting yourself to one main character is a risky measure and if it is not done carefully can lose you potential readers.

The protagonist (central character) must grab the attention of the reader as quickly as possible. Obviously this is common in most writing formats but it is more imperative when writing short stories.

Characters that the reader can identify with, either in personality or situation, are a good way of achieving this. In addition, by getting the reader to form an emotional attachment with the character you are able to keep the reader interested and reading longer. This attachment does not necessarily have to be a positive one as love and hate are equally strong emotions, the worst possible reaction to a character is disinterest. Remember the aim of a short story is that it can be read in one sitting so you really do need to keep the reader reading as they may not be coming back.

Another good tip is to write in the first person, this is because you want the audience to identify, and if possible, empathise with the character. Writing in the first person create a distinct voice for the character and reading their thoughts in this way can help create a more intimate relationship between them and the reader.

Finally, have fun with your characters adapt them and evolve them within different stories and they will grow as your writing improves. A perfectly written character is a very hard thing to achieve but practice and investigation help immensely. Publish some of you work on-line and gauge the reactions you get and use them to improve in the future.

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