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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Writing character's : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Writing character's

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:45 pm
by Onurthild
I have a question. I'm a highschool student thinking about starting to write novels but whenever I start to write the characters, they never feel alive tp me. They always feel as if they have no meaning to them and in turn it makes them uninteresting to friends I've shown my work to. Any tips for a new writer on how to write characters that feel alive within the story?

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:04 pm
by updog
I probably won't express this very well, but I'll try. When I create a character, I get right up inside their head. Try to see the world the way that character would see it. What kind of thoughts go through this person's mind? How do they feel about the world they live in? What do they desire? What are they afraid of? Basically, what motivates them to get up in the morning? What are they fighting for? The answers to these questions come to me naturally as I throw conflicts at the character, and usually I know them fairly well by the end of the first chapter. When I understand what drives the character, he or she becomes real to me, and when that happens, writing about them is as easy as if I were writing about myself.

I don't necessarily show any of this on the page right away though. I like to reveal character slowly through the course of the book, but understanding who my character is helps me write her better.

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:43 pm
by Loretta Green
One way is to get inside the characters head "See" their world through their senses(sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing.) then connect to their emotions through these senses. Bring in their memories and experiences. Lets say, You have a young woman get a passing whiff of a perfume her dead mother used to wear, have that invoke a quick memory of her sitting on her mother's lap in front of the vanity, playing in her mother's things as her mother gets ready to go to the charity ball, then connect that memory with the sense of loss she feels currently now that it's her wedding day and her mother isn't there to share it with her. But don't just state "She felt empty not having her mother there."

Example: In that one whiff of Jean Nate after bath splash, I was again eight years old on my mother's lap, watching in the vanity mirror as she french braided my hair while Dorris Day played on the turn table. My mother's lips humming Kay sera, sera. Now, sitting here thirty years later, all I have is a reflection of my Vera Wang wedding gown, and an empty ache where she should be. Like sticking your tongue in your tooth where the filling used to be.

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:25 am
by pls
As you may have learned, it's almost impossible to "create" whole right out of the box. What many writers do is to start with a prototype of a character, and then "throw them down the stairs" - in other words, force them to deal with problems, other characters, situations, nature, whatever. Their reactions reveal their true character.

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:17 am
by mammamaia
the best way to solve your problem is to simply study how successful authors treat their characters and bring them to life for the reader...

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:21 am
by James A. Ritchie
I almost never "create" characters. I use real people I know, along with the fallibilities, limitation, skills, knowledge, profession, quirks, and traits that make them who and what they are. Real people are interesting because they are real, so this is what I put down on the page.

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:57 am
by pls

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:15 pm
by updog

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:56 pm
by His Majesty
In addition to basing characters off those you may know (without mirroring them TOO much to the point where litigation may come into play...lol) I say just be hyper-aware and ridiculously observant of those you encounter in your everyday life. Be Victor Frankenstein. Takes pieces of all the interesting people you come across and stich and bolt together some memorable characters. These things could be: quirky mannerisms, interesting and eye catching visual aspects, the way they dress, talk, act around others. You have a great big wide world of carbon based life forms out there for inspirational purposes. Steal to your heart's content!

Re: Writing character's

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:10 pm
by James A. Ritchie