Characters

How to Create the Perfect Betrayal Character

How do you create a betrayal so perfectly heart shattering that readers will be crying in their seats?

Well, it all starts with the character who will betray the others.

So today, I’m going to be sharing with you guys 3 ways to make the perfect Betrayal Character so that when the epic betrayal time comes, readers hearts will break.

Let’s get started!Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 2.39.03 PM

Make Them Care

Let me just get this down right now: If your readers do not care about the betrayal character, then the betrayal is an immediate failure.

I’m going to show you 3 ways to avoid writing a useless betrayal, but rather create a heart-wrenching one:

1. Make Him an Important Character

By “important” I don’t mean that the Betrayal Character (as I’m just going to call him in this post) is a general of an army or something. When I say “important” I mean a character important to your plot.

When this character betrays the other characters, it will affect the plotYou know that your betrayal is not effective if he betrays the other characters and nothing comes of it. But, if your betrayal is done correctly, it will change the plot. 

And it all boils down to what kind of a character the Betrayal Character is.

  • Your Betrayal Character should be a major character.

The more time spent with this character, the more trust is built. Making him a major character gives the readers more ‘viewing’ time with the Betrayal Character. This builds up a stronger relationship with the readers, as well as a stronger connection between the Betrayal Character and protagonist.

In a nutshell? More trust = Better betrayal. 

And trust is all that the Betrayal Character is looking for anyway.

As a side tip, go to such great lengths that you make the Betrayal Character the favorite character. That doesn’t necessarily mean he steals the spotlight from the protagonist, but something – usually something to do with their personality, like being really quirky – can make readers like that character straight away.

2. Make Him Best Friends With the Protagonist

The Betrayal Character either a) betrays the protagonist because of something the protagonist does, or b) is already working for the bad-guys and is double crossing the protagonist.

In situation A, the Betrayal Character is most likely already the protagonist’s best friend, and in situation B, the Betrayal Character will probably want nothing more than to get in good with the protagonist and gain as much trust as possible, therefore becoming his best friend.

Betrayals revolve around trust. It’s pretty much the foundation of any relationship in life anyway, so a Betrayal Character will want to gain as much of it as possible so that they (in situation B) can get as much information as possible out of the protagonist easily. 

And, as said before, the more viewing time that the Betrayal Character has, the more the readers will trust/like/get to know him, so the more they’ll become attached to him. That way, when the time finally comes, the betrayal will be heart shattering to both the protagonist (because they’re best friends) and the readers (because they care about him so much).

3. Make Him Want (or Even Need) Something

Why are these characters doing what they’re doing together?

Going on a quest to save the world? Banding together because they’re the misfits in school?

Whatever the case, your Betrayal Character should want something out of this whole affair. Does he want the girl, does he want the job, does he want to save his home and be called a hero? He must want something.

And the readers must want that thing as well.

To make the readers really sympathize with your Betrayal Character, you need them to be sympathetic and onboard with the Betrayal Character’s goal. 

Same for the protagonist. He needs to be able to sympathize, feel sorry for, relate, or even help that Betrayal Character in getting what they want.

So basically the protagonist has to be aware that the Betrayal Character wants something, and somewhere in the back of their own adventure they’ll try and help them get it.

Sometimes the Betrayal Character even Needs something. They need to go on a quest to save their village, they need to get that job to save their home, they need to pass the test to pass into their next grade. Whatever the case, the protagonist should at least know of it, and want to help him in some way.

Try to aim for the saddest situations you can, and it’ll make the attachment of the readers and protagonist all the more stronger to the Betrayal Character.

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Betrayals are hard to write themselves, but there’s a lot of build-up that needs to happen before it can be written. And it’s all in the character.

So what are you going to do to make that betrayal as impactful on the readers and protagonist as it can be?

Where these tips helpful to you?

What are some of your favorite betrayals?

Do you want me to write a post on creating a heart-shattering betrayal scene?

Like these posts? Wanna have more? Subscribe to my email list to receive inside info and lots of fun! 

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.

Thanks for reading!

Mary

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19 thoughts on “How to Create the Perfect Betrayal Character”

  1. I want to make one of the main people in the story I’m writing into a betrayal character now! 😂 I can just picture the impact it would have on the story and it would be totally unexpected. This was a super helpful post and I loved it! ✨ You have given me direction as I was in a huge rut with the story but am ready to get back into it now 😄💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mary!! YESSS I love KOTLC! Ahh exactly, that was super well pulled off! Even Keefe’s betrayal towards Sophie (I think it was the end of book 4?) was very well done!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh MAN yes I do know. Haha don’t worry, Keefe is totally the BEST character!! Have you heard about Unlocked, the next book? I super hope Shannon Messenger will make this Sophie and Keefe thing happen.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post! I’ve never really taken the time to sit down and think through a betraying character, but I found myself nodding my head to literally every point you made in this post. Great tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never really used a betrayal character before because most of my characters that would be perfect for that are the ones who are doomed to die. (yes I am that author who makes you fall in love with the innocent character and then kills them brutally) However, I am trying to revive one of my books that fell flat and that includes editing this one problem character. At first, she was the MC now she’s been bumped down to a best friend of the MC. (her best friend is now the MC lol) But I don’t know her personality tho. At first, she was the unyielding loyal person and that was her only character trait really, to a character who doesn’t really care about much, to I have no clue. BUT, she is vital to the plot and extremely helpful to whomever she sides with so she’ll definitely hurt the MC. (plus he has trust issues before she betrays him) Sorry for my rant, I need to figure out how to sculpt this problem character. (I’m also afraid that by the time I finally figure out what her personality is that I can’t get the readers to like her because I’ll have had so many problems with her that I don’t like her.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, SO relatable! (As a side note, what some authors love to do is make those types of characters betray other characters and THEN die, so maybe that could work for you?). (And oh man, yes, that means you are an amazing writer 😝)

      I think what would be really helpful for you, and perhaps get some new ideas going, is to consider what MADE this girl unyieldingly loyal.
      Usually there’s a bit of a process to lead up to this, but whether you’re a plotter or pantser, I think you’d still find this really helpful.

      Firstly, consider this girl’s past. Is there a possibly traumatic event that could have happened which led her to become unyieldingly loyal now in the present? Just as a random example…maybe in her past she was disloyal to her best friend back then, and that ended up in her friend being killed. Now in the present, she cannot allow herself to be disloyal for fear of something terrible happening to her new best friend. Or perhaps she’s harbouring horrible feelings of guilt deep within her that it was HER fault her friend died because of her unloyalness, and now the only way she believes she can redeem herself is by being unyieldingly loyal to everyone – but most especially her new best friend – in order not to make such a terrible mistake again.
      For you, I think this would be really helpful because it sets up Drive. Just using my random example of guilt; she now believes it was all her fault her friend died because she was disloyal (this is what some writers call the “Lie”). She now Wants to prove she’s not guilty by being unyieldingly loyal to everyone so that nothing terrible will ever happen to anyone again because of her unloyalness. However, maybe what she Needs to do is realize the Truth that it wasn’t her fault in the past.

      So! This is why I’m suggesting this whole idea. It gives you a huge, personal reason to make readers understand WHY she’s so loyal to others, and it also makes them sympathetic to how she’s doing it – which is great, because even if you’re having some personality trouble, at least this makes readers understanding why she’s doing what she’s doing.
      Now, there are tons of different routes you could think up for what sort of traumatic thing will happen in her past, so I’d encourage you to explore much further than I did into her past, especially because you know the details of your book and what would seem most plausible to happen 😉
      (Let me know if you have any questions, this concept is very big and confusing! 😅 I’d also recommend checking out K.M. Weiland’s post on this if you need some further details: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/character-arcs-4/).

      Okay! As for personality…if I’m going to be quite honest, I still have much to learn about crafting those myself 😅
      However, I would highly suggest checking out both this really old post I did (https://wildwritingdreams.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/how-to-craft-a-unique-characters-voice-personality-and-keep-it/) (yes I’m sorry it’s a bit cringey 😂) and the Myers-Briggs website (https://www.16personalities.com). For the 16 personalities website, you could either a) take the quiz pretending you’re your girl character, and they will show you what personality she’d have, or you can just scroll around the Personality Types section until something sounds right. From the small bit I know, your girl character *might* be a Campaigner.

      Overall, I hope that made sense! I know this is an insanely long comment, and I’m sorry about that! However, I do hope this helps you 😉 If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

      Like

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