My dear friend Briana Morgan has guest posted on my blog before, and it is an honor to feature her again with a fantastic post on creating compelling characters. If you would like to read her other guest post, click here!
Thank you, Mariella, for letting me guest post on your blog! Today, I’m thrilled to talk about character creation and my personal process for creating realistic, memorable people to populate your fiction.
If any of you follow my blog, you may have seen some of my posts on character creation, including How to Get to Know Your Characters, How to Develop Stronger Characters, and 11 Steps to Crafting Characters. Although I still use the techniques discussed in these posts, I learn a lot more about character creation with each novel I write. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned even since writing Blood and Water—which I only released two months ago!
If you, like me, are constantly looking for tips to improve your characters, you’re in luck—I’ve put together a list of points worth considering the next time you’re trying to come up with compelling characters. Give them a try and maybe you’ll find one that works well for you.
- Write about your character in mundane, everyday scenarios. Though your story may not involve your character taking a trip to the grocery store, it might be useful to imagine them in such a commonplace setting.
- Take some personality inventories as your character. If you don’t think these tests are accurate, feel free to ignore this step. But while writing Blood and Water, I determined everyone’s Myers-Briggs type, and I thought it was pretty accurate. It also helped me discover how they might respond to certain situations that take place in the novel.
- Pull from reality. When you can’t seem to come up with any exciting quirks, take bits and pieces from people you know. For example, combine your uncle’s affinity for playing the Theremin with your grandpa’s passion for coin collecting. Nothing is off limits!
- Use yourself. If you feel weird writing characters based on other people, you can always use yourself. Without conscious effort, a lot of my characters end up sharing some of my traits, anyway. Just be careful not to make them too much like you!
- Try journaling. In one of my most popular posts on character creation, I mentioned that journaling helps me get inside my characters’ heads. If you don’t know how your character would react at a critical part of the story, try asking them! Talk to them directly. You never know what all they might have to say.
These techniques aren’t everything when it comes to creating compelling characters, but they should help you get started. No matter what method you decide to try, remember one thing—people love reading about other people, warts and all. To make your characters more realistic, make sure they act like real people. They should have hopes, dreams, fears, goals, flaws, and deep, dark secrets. As long as you keep those dimensions in mind, you should have no problem creating compelling characters for your stories!
What techniques do you use to create compelling characters?
Briana Morgan is YA and NA writer, editor, and blogger who loves dark, suspenseful reads, angst-ridden relationships, and complicated characters. Her interest in Jay Gatsby scares her friends and family. You can find her in way too many places online, eating too much popcorn, reading in the corner, or crying about long-dead literary heroes. Visit her website at www.brianamaemorgan.com.