Writing

Discovering Your Characters

Think of a character in your current work in progress. Did you think of the main character? A side character? The love interest? The comic relief?

No matter which character came to your mind, they all have one thing in common with all others they share their story with: they live in the world of your book. And anyone who lives in your book will act as if the story is about them.

This doesn’t mean your characters are self-absorbed; this just means that every character will behave as if they are the main character; they have their own aspirations, schedule, and daily order of coffee. This is another way of saying that each character in a book needs to be fleshed out and three-dimensional.

Creating a well-rounded character means understanding your character. To make your characters a little more 3D, try these exercises!

  • Write a tweet from the point of view of your character. What hashtags would they use?
  • Write a Facebook status from the point of view of your character. Would they even have a Facebook?
  • What would your character blog about? Write a blog from the perspective of your character.
  • Interview your characters as if they were sitting right in front of you. What questions do you ask? How do they respond? Transcribe the interview.
  • Record yourself talking like your character. What kinds of slang do they use? Dialect? Accent?

Try these out and make a list of anything new you discover about your characters! These discoveries don’t even need to make it into your book – as long as you, the writer, know of them, the characters will seem to jump out of the page! Who knows? They may surprise you!

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