How Do I Create Unique Characters for a Fantasy Short Story?

Author Name
Answered by: Scottie, An Expert in the Write Short Stories Category
The short story is a unique animal in the world of fantasy fiction. On the surface it would seem to be simpler to write a short story than to write a lengthy novel. However, there is one problem. You have to write believable characters that people can relate to immediately. A lengthy novel has reams of pages to work with in order to create unique characters. In a short story there will be far less wiggle room so to speak. Your characters will need to be dynamic, expressive and unique in a very short amount of time. If you want to create unique characters in a fantasy short story the first step is to create a name for that character. A name is a very important thing for your character because it is equivalent to their face. In the real world we can look at someone's face and recognize them. The same is true of the character's name. It is vital that the name be unique to each individual major character. While it may be fun to have six characters named Jim in a story, it can become convoluted and your readers will often have trouble realizing which Jim is the one currently performing an action.

Eventually (Should I say inevitably?) this leads to the addition of further qualifiers. Blond Jim, Red-head Jim, Black Shirt Jim; there are a lot of Jims in this story. Wouldn't the issue be solved easier if they each had their own unique name? A shorter nickname might also work. J, J2, and J3 would be useful nicknames and people would be able to readily understand who they are reading about.In a Fantasy story it is important to make certain that the entire world is involved in the tale even if it won't be a lengthy affair. The best way to make a unique and dynamic character is to have them either be completely at home in the setting, or completely out of place. A character that does not make a big deal out of the three headed Cyclopean Hydra living in the woods outback because it has always lived there is unique. A character that runs across it suddenly and has never seen such a thing is also unique. These scenarios allow for a great deal of character and personality detail to be shown in a very short space.

Outside of actually writing the character within a story there is also the character creation process itself. In order to create unique characters in Fantasy short stories it may be necessary to create a lengthy and detailed background description of the characters.

Start by choosing a name. Now define characteristics about the new creation. Where were they born? What type of general personality do they have? What do they like to eat? Do they have a sexual preference?

You can go further and ask more detailed questions. Are they afraid of the dark? Do they have a favorite kind of music? Did they get stood up for a date at one time in their life? Do they ride a motorcycle?

Most of these questions might not seem necessary for a character living in a typical fantasy world. However, the more detail the author has about a character the more references they can casually slip into their short story. This provides greater detail for any given character with very little extra effort. The character comes alive as a unique, living, being because they actually have those facets of their personality.

Author Name Like My Writing? Hire Me to Write For You!

Related Questions