I've done a fair bit of internet research in my search for a relatable character (is relatable even a word?). The basic structure that I came up with (and love) is below;
All characters need to have flaws, they can be huge (necrophilia - ok that's a strech) or minor (can't sleep without whiskey, bites their nails etc.) but basically, they need flaws. If they don't have any, the can become too perfect and readers will be turned off by their total immunity to all things bad.
These are necessary so that your character will have personality, in my scrapped book, my characters didn't have a clearly defined set of likes and dislikes (in my head, let alone the novel) and so they came across as pretty flat. The great thing about this part, is that anything that could be a like, could also be a dislike - so there's that...
All characters need to have at least one thing that is uniquely them, so they might pick their nails, lick their lips or (and weirdly this is my favourite) they might click their mouth when they're thinking things through (weird I know). This introduces a part of the character that is just them - just like normal people have things that they do that help define them.
With these three topics I began to build my MC. All I knew about her before this was that she was going to be a female MC... that's literally it - also she was going to be brunette. So from here, I cut up a piece of paper into lots of little pieces and wrote a whole bunch of flaws out, a whole bunch of likes/dislikes and a whole bunch of mannerisms. Then I played around with what I wanted my character to have (I also colour coded so I could easily distinguish which were the flaws, likes/dislikes or mannerisms). At the end of this post I've included a link to where you can download a free pdf of these characteristics to cut out and use for yourself (aren't I nice!?).
|This is a (pretty crappy quality sorry!) quick look at the 'flaws' printable!|
I had to google a whole bunch of different things I could use for each topic to write them down, and to save you the trouble of doing the same I decided to compile them into printable and cut-outable sheets (there are a few far out things on there, but we gotta have some fun eh?).
With these things picked out, I could begin to really shape my character. It was still difficult without a story idea, or world to put her in but it was a totally different approach to starting a story and I really enjoyed creating her. From there I really began to picture my character and could more easily sculpt her out of the inky black goop in the back of my mind.
You can find those free printables in the following links for flaws, likes & dislikes and mannerisms.
I hope that they help you in creating your character - let me know if this post helped at all, and I wish you all the best of luck! I'll keep you updated as I learn!