4. Creating Human Characters

Page 4 of 9 | Heart of the Story | How Do You? | Personality | Discovering Your Characters (1) | Discovering Your Characters (2) | Show, Don't Tell |
| Dialogue | Minor Characters | Don't Try This at Home! |

Discovering Your Characters (1)
Just as we found in world building, there are many roads you can follow in creating your characters. It's not a question of right or wrong; you just have to try them out and find the method that works for you. I'll describe two general methods:

Method 1 — Write out biographies for your characters before you start writing the story.

Write down as many details as you can think of, such as:

  • what they look like (people come in many shapes and sizes)
  • where they were born
  • who their parents were and what they were like
  • whether they had brothers and sisters and what they were like
  • what sort of experiences they had in school
  • where they learned their trade and who influenced them
  • whether they've ever been in love, and how did that go
  • how they deal with anger
  • and so on.

This kind of information gives you a better understanding from the outset of who your characters are and why they behave the way they do. It tells you what kind of emotional baggage they're carrying around.

Now that you've done this work, do you put it all in your story? Not necessarily. You use it as you need it, and as it becomes appropriate to put in. But because you know it, because you have a clearer, deeper picture in your mind of who this person on the page really is, the chances are much greater that the character will emerge as a believable human.

 
 

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