Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Put a Little Character in Your Characters

In your mind your characters do not look like the ones in the picture. They are colorful with dreams and ambitions. They also have unique interests and talents. However, sometimes we translate them differently from our mind to the page and they end up sounding like the picture: flat, colorless and see-through.

When that happens I challenge people to think about what they know about their characters. My husband consistently teases me about obsessing over my characters. I research them, know about their daily lives, and understand the past they came from. Why am I like this? Because I don't want my characters looking like the picture. I want vibrant characters who reach out and grab the reader with everything they are. When I know and understand them they write the story all on their on and I'm just the vessel they use.

So I ask you today to think about your characters. Can you see through them? How much do you truly know about them? And lastly who's writing your story?


  1. I think about my characters all the time. I mean, their actions have to stay consistent with their beliefs. What they do in every situation has to match up. You have to think about them all the time! No wonder I forget to make dinner. ;)

  2. i write bios on my characters - what they eat, what they love, their pet peeves - that way I know them when i write.

  3. I interview my characters. Srsly. A lovely published author emailed me her interview list, and getting to know my characters this way has been fascinating!!

    Great reminder, though. I need to keep doing this!

  4. Well even though I do tease you sometimes I have to admit you know your characters better than any other writer I know. You constantly know what they are thinking, why they would do whatever it is they are going to do, and even how many pairs of underwear they own(seriously people it is that thought out). I could take lessons form you at times, but then again that would require me admitting you are right and well we know how that is going to go down.