Six Tips for Writing Good Characters

by Amy Gash, Age 16, England

 

A young writer from England shares six tips she uses to write good, realistic characters. You may find these helpful if you are new to writing fiction or are just looking to have a little more fun with your creative writing.

Walkinshoes#1 Draw your character
If you get your artist brains on, you can create detailed pictures of your characters. Although this is useful for simply getting the physical features such as hair styles and colours out of the way, it can also help with personality factors. For example, if your character is a joker then you may draw them laughing; the opposite for somebody with a glum personality.

#2 Keep an ear open for music your character would like
For those more musically inclined, it may be best to listen out for songs that represent who that character is. If you find a song you can imagine your character singing, try to create a mental image of the character—see what they act like, if they’re singing with/to somebody else, and what they’re actually doing. Through this you can also learn what type of voice your character has, such as deep, high, or average.

#3 Talk to your character
Conversations with characters also help a great deal. Think of questions you want to ask your character and use your own voice to speak their answers. Don’t think about what they’re like, let them answer it for you.

#4 Walk in your character’s shoes
Get into your character’s shoes. Create a scenario, choose a character, and, either by yourself or with others, act out what happens. Will the character hide or fight? Do they feel insecure or comfortable in their own skin? See what you feel and what you end up doing as that character. The more realistically you portray them the more real they’ll seem on paper.

#5 Go people watching
Watch how normal people act around you and observe their relationships with others. If you can figure out the stories of strangers and make them more personal to you, then you can do it with your characters.

#6 Write short stories with your characters
Some people may say this is a given, but you can use this to help create characters, as well as make the stories themselves. If you’re having trouble with the main story, create a separate page to create some short stories with the characters. See how they react in these shorter spaces, and use this to inspire you for the main feature.

Whichever tip you use, make it personal and have fun.

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Amy Gash is an 18 year old writer from England. Amy says, “Writing to me is not a necessity but a great passion; one that I hope will see me through into being a helpful and caring person. Without my words I’d have nothing, and with nothing I’d have never discovered anything new.”

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