Getting to Know Characters
November 24, 2007
You have already had the chance to get to know your characters because they've been floating around in your head. If you've developed any of the items in Creating Characters then you probably already know about your character's background. The readers have not, so you'll need to introduce your characters.
Think about the first time you meet somebody. If you meet them in person, you see what they look like before you get to know anything else about them. If you talk to them on the phone, you hear their voice first. If you meet them online, you only can read what they type, and you can only see the photos they post. Likewise, introduce your characters to your readers in the same way.
Your readers should learn the description of your point-of-view (pov) character early in the story. This will help your readers imagine your pov character as a real person.
Tell your readers your characters' names as your pov character learns them. The girl in the blue dress can be identified as the girl in the blue dress until your pov character finds out her name.
Your readers should learn the name of your pov character as soon as possible. The earlier they realize they're reading a story about Bob rather than this random guy, the sooner they'll feel connected to Bob.
Filling in the Background Information
Rarely do you know anything about a person before you actually meet them unless, of course, you've been discussing that person with another person or seen a media piece about that person. Don't start talking about Suzie's past working in a strip club if your pov character wouldn't already know about that information. Let your readers learn about it when your other characters learn about it.