How to Create Characters Who Come Alive

What is the primary secret to writing fiction that readers will care about, fiction that retains them up all night time studying, that makes them cry and fall in love?

Many starting writers assume the reply has to do with what the story’s about.  They get dramatic with automobile wrecks, passionate romance, serial killers… They elevate the amount and the physique rely.

This is the issue with that principle.  Folks usually do not cry or lose sleep over the accidents, amorous affairs, or deaths of full strangers.  In any other case, simply studying the entrance web page of the newspaper day by day would give anybody a nervous breakdown.

No, the reality is that most individuals get extra upset in regards to the small issues of somebody near them than they do in regards to the massive issues of anyone they’ve by no means met.

So if you may make readers really feel like your characters are actual folks they know, then readers will care what occurs to these characters.  They are going to fear about your characters’ issues, flip pages to see what occurs, really feel unhappy when issues go unsuitable or relieved when issues work out.  They are going to turn out to be absorbed in your story.

Methods to invent a personality

Unsure methods to provide you with fictional characters?  Listed here are some attainable locations to start:

  • Begin with folks . However the novelist A.S. Byatt recommends basing a fictional character not on a single actual individual, however on a mixture of a number of folks.  This offers your creativeness extra room to work.
  • Begin with people-watching. If you’re strolling by means of the mall, sitting within the dentist’s ready room, standing in line on the grocery store, have a look at the folks round you and picture lives for them.
  • Begin with . Select an image of an individual in and invent a reputation for her or him, a household, a persona, strengths and weaknesses, fears and secret needs.
  • Begin with a reputation. Open a telephone ebook to a random web page and select a reputation.  For example you decide “L. Weatherbed.”  What may the “L.” stand for?  Write down the very first thing that happens to you — for instance, Lillian.  When you image somebody named Lillian Weatherbed, what psychological picture involves thoughts?  I see a girl about fifty years previous, small and bony, with frizzy blondish hair, buck tooth, outsized glasses.  Flip the title you’ve got picked into a personality.

Methods to make the character really feel actual

To make readers really feel that your characters are actual folks, step one is convincing your self.

Character profiles are an awesome software for attending to know your characters in order that they begin to come alive for you.  Make notes for your self in regards to the character’s seems to be, previous historical past, household, persona, relationships, habits, hopes and fears.  Some writers have lists of questions that they reply about each character, in areas similar to:

  • Fundamental data: (title, age, basic bodily description…)
  • Relationships: (buddies, household, relationships with males, relationships with ladies…)
  • Tastes and pursuits: (hobbies, sports activities, favourite meals…)
  • Character: (humorousness, mood, strongest constructive and unfavorable persona traits…)
  • Attitudes and beliefs: (ambitions, faith, philosophy of life…)

You will get free character growth worksheets on the Inventive Writing Now web site.


Do not attempt to pack all this background data into your fiction.  Readers is not going to wish to learn a background file on each character.  The character profile is a software to deepen your personal data of the characters.  Your data will help you make the correct decisions in your story or novel in order that the characters come by means of as actual folks.

As you’re writing, it is best to always ask your self, “What would this character do now? What would she or he say? How would he or she react? What would occur subsequent?”  Belief the solutions.  By no means push the characters to behave in a method that is not pure to them.  When you attempt to cheat, the characters or the story will really feel false.

However if you happen to do issues proper, the characters will come alive on your readers as actual those who they know and care about.

Source by N. Strauss