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News From Maria Pease, Issue #009 -
September 30, 2016

News From The Home Office

Creating Characters Your Readers Will Love

As a writer, creating characters are one of my favorite things about writing. It's not easy to invent an interesting, colorful character that will keep my readers interested as well as making sure the character stays true to themselves throughout the story, but for me, it is the driving force in making a story work.

I'm asked about my characters pretty frequently and what my process is for creating them so I thought I'd offer a few tips on the subject.

My six best tips are:

1. Study human behavior. You don't need a psychology degree to figure out why people act the way they do. It's all about paying attention to what motivates us and that is different for everyone. Some people are motivated by money, some people let their heart run the show and others may have malicious intentions, but there is a reason we all behave the way we do and learning about some of those reasons can help you to design an interesting character.

2. Start with who you know. Most of the time, I look at the people in my life and work from there. I take traits from family and friends and mix and match them to create characters, and then add something even more interesting to the mix. It could be some extreme phobia or tick, or a behavior that they are trying to get control of or even some fault that makes them endearing.

3. They have to have layers. No one has a perfect life that is without ups and downs or a variety of emotions, so remember to keep reality in mind when creating the characters in your story. We all have families, friends and people that have hurt us, and we have all dealt with bad situations and disappointment now and then. It's these life lessons can be amazing for making a well rounded and interesting character.

4. Focus on what they do. As they say, all talk and no action isn't very interesting. Your characters need to do things. They can be brave and get involved in scary situations or they can be even be shy and spend their energy trying to hide from all the scary things in life. Either way, they are being active.

5. Get to know your characters. When creating your characters, think about all the details. Height, weight, eye color, hair color, scars, background, childhood, family, personality. it all helps to shape them and helps you to define why they behave like they do.

6. Keep track of them. If you write a series as I do, you'll want to keep a character sketch of everything you have designed so you don't have any discrepancies from book to book. I don't know about you, but if my author doesn't know the character, I wonder why I should care.

Creating characters is a vital part of every story and it's not easy to make them interesting, but it's also a lot of fun. There is no need to rush through the process. What's important is how they move the story forward. contact me here with your questions.

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