Knowing Your Characters

Posted: January 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

The questions I get sometimes regarding my characters of new stories sometimes throw me. I have no idea if they are left handed or have a mole on the right side of their face.  That’s not what is important. They are still in the baby steps of my writing. To know a character is to write about a character. You have to know how they have reacted; you know what they’ve done in conflict-their mistakes, their strengths, and their reactions. You won’t know your true character until you practice with them. If you are a comic artist or graphic novelist, you must draw them for months before you nail their expressions and attitude. If you are a writer, you have to write them in every situation and learn the feel for them. Most of my characters tend to be women. I relate to them so much more (obvious reason why).

I have to write the story like I was recalling it from my memory. Like it actually happened. Story building is so much more for a character. I know a girl that I grew up with and every single one of her characters has a million years worth of backstory. It’s incredible. That being said, she knows this character inside and out because she practiced with them. Think of your character like a new friend. You know some obvious traits; you may even know about them because they have a reputation and someone has told you about them. My belief is that you can get along with anybody if you are in the right circumstances. Not all people are one dimensional or only known for two or three traits. There is so much more to them than that. The more time you spend with your new friend and the more stuff you both go through, the more you get to know them. You may start to dislike them if they have some irritating overruling trait. You got along with them for a moment for a reason. Now pinpoint why they irritate you. Then remind yourself of why you may have been drawn to them in the first place. Manipulative people have more traits than just being manipulative. Liars too. Doormat sweet friends have more. They have interests and they have personality quirks. Know your character like your best friend. Spend time with them. Talk to them. Go through experiences together.

I’ve heard many writers tell readers or their following that the characters tend to write themselves. We may have created these creatures but until you write about them, you may not know how they would react when their grandmother gets kidnapped. Does your character have a personality that cuts people to the quick and is very blunt? Does she cave when she shouldn’t because she has an attention disorder? Conflicting personality can sometimes turn you off of a character but it also is what makes them more human.

xoxo,

Ella

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