It Takes A Village

Have you ever heard someone say, “it takes a village?”

I heard that a lot growing up.   That statement often was said in reference to the environment we grew up in.

Basically, it meant that parents were not the only people in a child’s life that had some responsibility for helping them grow to be responsible adults.

You probably wonder how this relates to fiction writing.  It most assuredly does relate.

When you begin writing your characters and thinking about their personalities or their influences, you will need to think about their village.

It Takes A Village Mentor

It takes a village mentor to encourage and give your main character someone to emulate.

This is usually a village elder that your character looks up to.

When your character needs advice or when they don’t know what to do in each situation, they will often try to think of how their mentor would act or speak.

When you are creating this character, you must realize that they will have a strong influence on everything your character does and thinks.

Therefore, your mentor character must have a strong relationship with your main character.

This mentor will be the person they most fear disappointing.  That fear of disappointment will keep your character on the straight and narrow.

This mentor will also be the character that your main character will turn to in times of crisis for any advice or words of wisdom.  They will also seek the mentor out when they have a victory to share.

When you are developing this character, you should think of someone you look up to yourself and give the mentor some similar characteristics.   Think about what their influence is over you and why.

It Takes A Village Idiot

It takes a village idiot to give your main character some perspective.

There are many ways that you can create a village idiot.

This person can be a raving lunatic that walks down the street talking to themselves, or it can be a foolish person who thinks that they are smarter than they are.

This person will always do the opposite of what a normal person would do in a similar situation.

This type of character will have an answer for everything even when it is wrong.

Whenever your main character hears what this character has to say about a situation, they will know instantly what not to do.

It Takes A Village Snob

It takes a village snob for your character to understand how to deal with people from different economic backgrounds.

The snob will look down their nose at anyone they deem to be on a different and lower social ladder than they are themselves.

Your character needs to understand that people on a different socioeconomic ladder than they are can contribute to the world in a real way.

The snob will point out perceived deficiencies, and your main character will be able to see how even those in a high economic station can be wrong about others.

Your main character will probably befriend someone that the snob believes does not deserve the time of day.

This allows your main character to learn to get to know people before making a judgment based on where others live or how much money they have.

It Takes A Village Bully

It takes a village bully to teach your main character how to relate to intimidation and how to stand up for themselves.

This is the type of character that teaches your main character how to be a hero.

You could have your main character stand up for themselves against the bully to teach them about courage.

Your main character could also stand up for someone else against the bully to teach them to protect the weak.

Without the village bully, your character doesn’t learn these traits.

How can they fight off evil if they can’t even stand up to the village bully?

 It was dealing with the bully as a child that your hero learned bravery, courage, and fighting for others without thinking about their own well-being.

It Takes A Village Sweetheart

It takes a Village Sweetheart for your hero to know what love is and why you must protect the ones you love.

At some point in your hero’s life, he either loved someone who broke his heart, or he still loves someone that he wants to protect.

That person played a big role in your hero’s development.

Your hero learned to care about other people as well as learning to care about how others feel.

This person taught your hero how to put others before himself.

It takes a village sweetheart to teach your character to love.

It Takes A Village Friend

Your hero probably had a best friend when they were growing up.

It may or may not be the sidekick your hero has with him throughout the story you are writing.

The friend character teaches your hero to trust.  This friend is the person your hero character confided in and bounced ideas off no matter how ridiculous they may have seemed at the time.

This character is important because your hero needs other people to lean on and to feel comfortable around when they are testing boundaries.

It Takes A Village Witch

It takes a village witch to create mystery and intrigue.

This will be a character that everyone in the village whispers about. 

They will be a loner with a rumored past that grows with each telling no matter how untrue or ridiculous the story is.

This character doesn’t have to be a witch unless you need a witch character.

When you were growing up, was there one house that all the children avoided because it was creepy?

Did you and your friends tell ghost stories about the house and the person who lived there?  Every town in the world has one of these characters that everyone crosses the street to avoid.

This type of person usually has a tragic backstory that people have long forgotten all the details concerning, so, they just made up stories to fill in the gaps of that memory lapse.

Usually, the stories passed around about this character are not close to the real story.

While this isn’t an essential character, it does give your main town or village a real feel to it.

It Takes An Entire Village

Some of these characters will never make it into your novel and that is okay.

The village characters are more a fun way of creating a believable backstory for your character to show where they came from and what makes them tick.

The more real you can make your character, the more real your character will feel to your readers and the more engaged they will become with the hero.

You may only use a name or mention of a character one time, but it will explain how your character grew into a hero.

For more character building information check out this post!