Throughout the history of literature great and epic characters have captured the imaginations and hearts of a multitude of people. An epic character does not specifically have to be the main character though. Great characters like Gandalf the Grey and Dumbledore are only supporting characters. And yet they are some of the most beloved characters in all of literature. It takes a great deal of thought and imagination in order to create a character of the highest caliber. Here are some great tips on how to create a truly epic character.
1. Give your character a great backstory
A great backstory is the key to a truly epic character. It allows you to flesh out your character and give the character depth and personality.
One great example is Scott F. Fitzgerald’s famous character Jay Gatsby. The character is the main protagonist in the book The Great Gatsby. In the book Gatsby holds extremely extravagant parties in his huge mansion. Each party costs a fortune and people wonder why he holds the parties and acts in such an enigmatic manner. Later on readers will find out that the reason why he holds the parties is because he wants to gain the attentions of an old love.
2. Make your character as likable as possible.
If you want to make a great character, you should try to make your character as likable as possible.There are many ways you can do this. But the easiest way to do this is to create a character you would like as a friend.
Take for example Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings books. He is one of the most beloved literary characters in the world. This is because he is a loyal friend to the very end.
3. Give your character a good motivation
Having a good motivation allows you to give your character direction. This motivation also helps to form your character’s personality.
Take for example great characters like Edmond Dantes in the classic novel, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Edmond Dantes is a young man who is accused of a crime he did not commit. As he languishes in prison he figures out who betrayed him and plans out his revenge. And as the novel progresses, the character becomes more and more enmeshed in his quest for vengeance.
4. Give your character a quirk
Everybody has a quirk. It can be something as simple as a small gesture or a whole ritualized act. And quirks can be either endearing or annoying. You can use this concept when you make your character. Quirks will make your character more real to your readers.
One great example of a great quirky character is Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective is well known to have been very unorthodox in dealing with people, even going so far as appearing strange and anti-social with clients.
5. Make your character enigmatic
It is always a good idea to give your character a certain mystery. This is because it intrigues your readers and captures their attention.
Take for example the character of Athos in Alexandre Dumas book, The Three Musketeers. Athos is a well-known musketeer with a noble disposition. He seems like a very honorable individual and was the protagonist D’ Artagnan’s closest friend. An enigmatic character at the start of the novel, but he is later revealed to be a former nobleman who lost everything after his wife betrayed him. This mysterious quality made Athos a beloved character throughout literary history.
6. Your character has friends everywhere
Giving your epic character a good network of friends increases their chances their air of mystique and sense of history. This is especially effective if these friends are longtime friends and has known the author for years.
Sherlock Holmes is also a great example of this quality. Sherlock has a great network in his group of young street urchins known as the Baker Street Boys. He uses them to gather information from the London underground.
7. A tragic past
A tragic past makes your character a more layered one. It shows that your character has gone through a great deal of hardship and pain throughout life and has shaped the characters personality and perceptions on life.
Jean Valjean of Les Miserables is a great example of this quality. Jean Valjean is a convicted man who finds redemption from an act of mercy from a total stranger. His tragic past makes him a more compelling character.
8. Anti-heroes are cool
Some of the best characters in literature are not strictly good. These characters are commonly known as anti-heroes and they usually serve as foils for the main character.
One magnificent example of an anti-hero is Severus Snape from the Harry Potter book series. The potions master was a perpetual thorn in Harry Potter’s side. But we later find out that his antagonistic relationship was a façade in order for him to protect Harry.
9. The character is multi-talented
An epic character has a multitude of talents. Whether it is a skill in swordplay or knowing how to cook it ultimately makes the character so much more interesting.
Edmond Dantes is yet another example. He is a masterful swordsman, gentleman and has learned a variety of skills from his time in prison.
10. The character is well-read
Knowledge is power when it comes to making a truly great character. This implies that the character is intelligent and quite knowledgeable in various topics.
Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter book series is a very well read and intelligent witch. This has endeared her to a multitude of readers through the years.
Creating an epic character is never easy, but once you are able to make one, you can center your entire storyline on this character. Just remember that your epic character does not need to follow any blueprint. These tips are only here to help you structure your character. But your epic character should always come from you.