Friday, February 3, 2012

Bring Characters To Life!

We don’t just read books for the plots, but for the characters. We are following their lives, listening to their conversations, and even intruding on their most intimate moments. We befriend them and sympathize with what they are going through. Sometimes we laugh at them or we cry with them. Every now and then, we even fear for them. That is why you must treat the characters in your novel as though they are real people in your life. (If they live in your head, they are as good as real.)
When you have a story idea and picked a genre, the next step in writing a novel is to build your characters. All of the characters in your novel need personalities and quirks. Is one of your characters sweet and shy, or mean and dangerous? Bring it out in your writing. For example, a shy character can blush fuchsia, and a mean character can grind his teeth in aggravation.

I gave the butt-kicking female protagonist in my series many of my personality traits like my “god-like” anger and lack of patience –especially when she’s trying to catch a criminal. Could you give your main character a few of your charming (or less than charming) traits?

You don't want your characters to look like this in your readers' minds eye.
Photo by Chrys Fey

Your characters also need appearances. After all, you are creating people. Give them hair/eye colors and body structures, but be creative when you are describing them in your book and let your creativity for words shine. Don’t just give a character green eyes and blonde hair. Instead, say they have green eyes the color of fresh cut grass and 24-karot gold hair.

Project: Grab a few sheets of paper and a pen. At the top of the paper, write the characters name and make a profile for them like so:


            Hair color:

            Eye color:

            Body Type:



Add any other relevant information, but don’t forget to have fun!

Other details you may want to consider when you’re creating your characters is their past. Does their past influence the story you are telling? Do they have fears and/or weaknesses that can come into play later in your book? What are their flaws? You can't create perfect characters, because we are, after all, not perfect.
You also need to figure out what each of your characters is going to do in your novel. What is their purpose? Their purpose can be as simple as being comedic relief to being the villain. I have a character in my series whose purpose is to be funny, witty, and sexual. But she also has an important role as the medical examiner.

QUESTION: Obviously, the characters we create are our personal favorites, but is there a character from a book (that is not your own) who you absolutely love?

I loved (and sympathized with) Melanie from Stephanie Meyer’s adult novel, “The Host”.

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  1. I have to say, I love the pictures you used for this blog! And the project you described sounds like an easy way to create characters. I am definitely going to use it!

    I don't really have a favorite character from any books I've read, but that just makes me want to create awesome characters in my own novel! ;)

  2. Love your selfie! You can use that for next Halloween.
    I still need to read Hurricane Crimes, I've been to busy.
    I love SAMUEL McCORD in Roland D. Yeomans books.

    1. I just realized you're sharing your older post!

    2. Sorry, David. Didn't mean to trick you! I shared my two older character posts because the information can be useful anytime. Plus, I hadn't shared them since I got Google+.

      I haven't read any of Roland's books yet, but I have to now! ;)

    3. I'm easily distracted! I blame my ADHD, my wife tells me I just don't pay attention.

    4. Distractions can sometimes be good. ;)


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