Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Creating a Character

You're creating a new character...

Of course you have to know if their eyes look like this...

or this...

Or if their hair looks like this...

or this...

Or if they need this...
Or like to wear this...

But think about this....

Did their school look like this....

or more like this?

Do they have this?

Are they this?

Or did it end up more like this?

Do they get around in this?


Or this?

Would they be happier somewhere like this?
Or somewhere like this?


Once you know your character's this....

You'll find all the answers you'll need.


  1. Excellent reminders. What I hate is when the character omits things she doesn't think I need to know and springs them on me on page 250 with an "Oh, by the way..."

  2. A rich history makes for a great character, but it can be hard to get all the depth figured out in one go. I agree with Carol that integrating the info through the book is important if the reader is going to be satisfied that the author isn't cheating.

  3. Elspeth - Oh, thank you so much for that very, very important reminder! It's those little details that make a character come alive. In fact, I write my characters' dialogues a lot more realistically once I know who they really are. That starts with those things about them like age, appearance, wealth, education, likes/dislikes, relationships with other characters, predisposition to insomnia, whatever...

  4. Carol; That's annoying, isn't it? When it happens to me, I generally try to go back and adjust things as necessary.

    Kitdunsmore; I generally write bios for all my characters before I begin. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't surprises along the way, but it does stop me from allowing inconsistencies.

    Margot; I'm not surprised that you're thorough, Margot! A little work at the beginning can prevent a ton of errors later on.

  5. Excellent! It makes writing so much more consistent by having character bios to start with.

  6. I'm a 'fill in the blanks when you need them' kind of writer--but I've learned (the hard way) to write those details down once I've discovered them.

    Terry's Place
    Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

  7. Great way to remind us how important it is to know these details about our characters. I've discovered more details about my characters as the story evolves and realized I need to keep track of those as well, especially for this mystery series I'm working on. I find myself checking this fact sheet from the first book often as I am working on the second. Glad I made it. LOL

  8. A timely reminder.
    I'm trying to flesh out some characters at the moment.

  9. Excellent post, Elspeth. Writing down the characters' history, description, and personality before starting a novel is very helpful. Of course, you have to stop and do it again each time a new character pops up that you didn't even know was going to be in the story. :)


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