Don’t Let Your Characters Sit On The Fence
As a writer, you want your characters to feel human. One of the best ways to do that is to give them opinions. Opinions, large and small.
Whether your reader agrees with your character’s opinions is not as important, as making that character feel real to your reader.
Mystery writers have multiple opportunities to create character opinions. As your sleuth navigates the victim’s world interviewing suspects and discovering clues, give them opinions about suspects and their social place, emotional reactions, and smoke screens.
One of the reasons readers love Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch is because Harry has opinions…about everything.
Opinions make characters relatable. And, the reason they are relatable is because the reader understands their attributes both positive and negative. So don’t be afraid to give a character an opinion that might not resonate with everyone. The humanity of the opinion is what resonates with your reader.
How to Add Opinions
Weaving character opinions into your novel is not difficult. Opinions work best as inner monologue and also in dialogue. These are the two places where a character expresses opinions.
Inner monologue gives voices to your character’s thoughts. Your reader gains insight into a character’s immediate thought processes. And, the abruptness of that internal voice provides information and increases the tension in a scene.
Many beginning writers use inner monologue to express feeling like anger or sorrow. He felt his hands turn into fists of anger. Or, She thought her tears would never end. You can add subtext to your inner monologue with opinions. Fists can clench, but showing your character’s opinion of a corrupt and manipulating entrepreneur, adds dimension to your character. Your reader can empathize with the opinion. It’s actually stronger than the clenched fists.
Opinions about other characters and events reveal your character’s point of view. Giving your reader the internal dialogue about your character’s current situation deepens your reader’s response to your character and the scene.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your character’s inner conflict is with opinions. If your character sees two sides, her opinions guide the reader into the dilemma. As your story progresses, your character can either change opinions or strengthen already held beliefs.
Go into your character’s thoughts and write those opinions.
Your characters don’t need to keep their opinions to themselves. Your main character has ample opportunity to express opinions while talking to others. Sidekick, mentor, and love interest supporting characters are perfect foils for your protagonist to air opinions.
Suspects, too, provide opportunities for your sleuth to express opinions. She may respond to a comment by a suspect that elicits an opinionated response. Or, he may respond to a suspect’s opinion with his own personal opinion.
An opponent can push the protagonist’s buttons. In fact, that’s their story job. In a heated moment, your sleuth may have the perfect opportunity to express opinions when an opponent sets up an obstacle.
Be An Opinionated Writer
Your characters’ opinions do not need to be yours. Use your imagination as you work in your character backgrounds. Give characters opinions that fit their profile. Have fun with it. Your readers will appreciate your relatable characters.