Creating Characters: Let the Fun Begin


This past weekend I traveled south to visit with relatives. As with any other family gathering, there was laughter, drama, and the usual family antics. My cousin mentioned that I would be wise to take notes for my next book. She was right- some of the things that happened were undoubtedly fit for a work of fiction. I made mental notes of some of the most memorable moments, and while I may or may not use them anytime soon (pardon the pun), they will be placed in my writing archive for future use.

If you are having trouble creating characters for your writings your inspiration may be right in front of you, perhaps your inspiration even lives or works with you. Now please take note of the word “inspiration”; you don’t want to start out your writing career imitating your family and friends, a little inspiration is enough and just let your creativity do the rest.

If you ever find yourself having trouble developing a character, start with your surroundings and what’s familiar to you. What about the little old lady you see at the grocery store every week? Give her a longer nose, pasty skin a humped back and an intriguing secret. Better yet, put her in a Chanel suit give her a southern accent, a few oil wells and a two pack a day cigarette habit. Just go for it. Consider the brawny guy that works at the gym. Turn him into a spy or maybe even a vampire-people love to read about the "undead" these days. Your characters should match your storyline, however, so if your story is about dance or the arts, not sure a vampire will fit into that, but hey, who knows? Just make sure your characters are memorable and believable. Don’t be afraid of your imagination you can always go back and refine or recreate. Power over your characters is one of the perks of being a writer.

So if you have managed to get through your first steps of writing, don’t get stuck on character development. Have a little fun with it until you make your characters precisely who you want them to be. Be creative and outlandish, but most of all, create characters that people won't forget.

Tamika Greenwood