Reply To: How have you made your characters more realistic?

Forums Fiction Characters How have you made your characters more realistic? Reply To: How have you made your characters more realistic?


@gbfruitbat Yay, I’m not the only one! 🙂

Thanks for your input! No, not fantasy, but historical fiction. I’m a history nerd, lol. My WIP begins in 1933, pre-war Berlin and follows the Nazi rise to power and then WW2 through the eyes of this family. Here’s kind of the synopsis of those 3 characters, and perhaps this will help you tell me if it’s convincingly plausible, if you care to read it. I’m trying to form a character arc for every character, their own journey of growth and change. Herr Kramer’s is not quite developed yet as you can see.

Herr Kramer was blinded by a factory accident 9 years ago. However, God has gifted him with an incredible photographic memory, and he’s become a painter despite his blindness. After the war begins, the factory he used to work in is requisitioned for Germany’s armament production, and he’s hired by the German resistance (working with the British SOE) to draw from memory the interior of the factory as he knew it, as the SOE plans to destroy the factory. Of course, there’s a bit of suspense and fear revolving around the fact that he’s blind… what if he makes a mistake?

Margarethe is a “useless” invalid – believing she can’t help with the things that really matter. She’s constantly comparing herself with others, knowing that she won’t ever be able to do the things they’re doing. She struggles with depression and distrust of God’s goodness. In her desperate efforts to somehow make a difference, she makes a horrible mistake. She decides to give up and waste her life away. But then, she learns to fix her eyes on a Hope that cannot fail (not a hope that possibly, maybe, someday she’ll be free from pain and ‘normal’, a hope that, time and again, disappoints and desponds her). But a Hope that holds her. One on whom she can rest for help, instead of always trying to be the one helping. This makes her confident through these lessons, even sometimes joyful. Of course, she still sometimes struggles – but she is a different Margarethe. That Hope in heaven is what carries her on. Then, her battles with the realities of pain help her minister to those hurt by the Reich’s regime. She learns that God uses useless people, that His strength is made perfect in weakness. That God is always working for His glory and her good, and that one is always leaving a sort of legacy, whether they mean to or not, and that she’s simply called to faithfulness, not doing great things.

Sweet little Ilse, the daughter and sister who will forever be a child, is the heartbeat and life of the family. Ilse has a special place in the hearts of the entire family, but most of all in Jannike’s (the oldest daughter and main character). Jannike struggles with hatred against those who believe the sick or disabled, like Margarethe or Papa, are less deserving of life, and seek to harm and kill helpless, innocent ones like her Ilse. This hatred propels her into throwing heart, soul, and life into destroying the Nazi regime and all connected with it, a passion that puts her family at risk and threatens to tear apart their lives.

Other family members include Frau Kramer, a protective, fear-driven mama who’s powerless to shield her children from the evil of the Nazi regime; Wilhelm, a former Nazi SS that is hounded by the guilt of what he’d done (although unwittingly) and can’t accept the free forgiveness of Christ without feeling like he must work for it; and Kurt, a rambunctious early teen whose whole world comes crashing in when his ideal is shot. Consumed with revenge and a hatred against anything and everything Nazi, Kurt begins to slip into communist ideology.

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