Monday, April 10, 2006


Today's post is on characterization and some of the ways writers go about it.

1. I know several writers who interview their characters. Some literally sit down and talk to their imaginary characters as if they were sitting opposite them. I think many even do this out loud.

2. Some writers use the characteristics of astrological signs ie. if they see their character as a Taurus, then they'll use the features associated with the sign like stubbornness and strong will. This is only a jumping off point for most, a very basic outline.

3. Then there are the character archetypes, sort of a 'master' list of the types of characters you can have, for example, the bad boy hero. Each type has a list of associated characteristics, which authors can use to flesh out their own creations.

4. Normal people are also good. I don't mean that authors use real people as their characters, but that they take in things about others - many people, not one - and use it to make their creation real, giving them the little eccentric behaviors that make us all unique.

5. Pictures ripped from magazines or seen on the internet can also provide writers with inspiration for character types. First, the picture may allow you to present a more detailed physical appearance for your character. Secondly, it may start your brain thinking about the person behind the picture - who are they? Most authors don't want to know the factual answer to that - they want to set their minds free to create one.

The above are just five random things writers might do to develop their characters. If you're a writer, what do you do?

And if you're a reader, what makes a character real to you? What makes you want to believe in them, cheer them on and read the book to the very end?


Milady Insanity said...

The Murder She Writers are blogging about this today too, Nalini.

Me, most of the time they just pop into my head, and really, it's better for all involved if it happens that way.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

I think that I model them from real people. Also, I like characters that I think would be right next door even though they may have a weird attribute like blowing fire out their nose. LOL

Nalini Singh said...

Milady - I didn't know that! Well, you know what they say about great minds ;) Lol about your characters!

Cynthia - snort! (pun intended *g*)

Josie said...

I also model my characters on real people, and I love characters who have unique quirks. I read a book a long time ago where the heroine kept eating and eating when she was nervous. The hero finally said something like, "Why don't you have something to eat?" I remember laughing so hard.