Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Creating Realistic Characters

When writers ask me what it takes to create realistic characters, my first thought is always,"you probably already know the answer."

Photo by: Northridge Alumni Bear Facts, courtesy of Flickr
If you've spent your life out of doors and not inside a cardboard box, if you know a little bit about communication and the quirks that everyone has, if you know how to relate to children or teens or adults, then you already know how to create realistic characters.

For some reason, in writing a book, authors think they have to know something special about keeping their characters from the cut-out variety. But all a writer really needs to create a believable character is just a reminder of what folks are all about in the first place:

  • Physical characteristics
  • Emotional ways of being
  • Spiritual attributes
  • Talents and gifts
  • Flaws
What is it about your best friend that keeps her your best friend?

What is it about you enemy that keeps her standing far away?

Why do some people prefer jeans to dressing up?

Why do others hate to be bothered, while yet others like that one-on-one visit?

Creating realistic characters is a bit like life. You meet new people, you're surrounded by loved ones, and your enemies continue to stress you out, because that's what they do.

What you learn in your life associations will keep your characters realistic.


  1. So, what do you think? Realistic, or not?

    Characters of depth? Or not?

  2. Is it somebody chasing after the jazz band teacher? Not depth but very intriguing.

  3. Yep, not much depth here. I chose the picture because it reminds me to go in deep and really discover a character. This drawing seems pretty surfacy to me and I need to know more.


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