Creating Characters


I have found that the easiest part of writing a novel is creating characters. The first thing that I think of is the function of the character. For example, I need a private detective. The next step is coming up with a name and gender. If I decide that the detective will be male, the next thing I think about is what kind of things I like in a man. I think about how men dress and what looks good to me. I think about physical characteristics⎯⎯⎯height, size, eye color, hair color, etc. And then I give these attributes to my character or my detective in this case. One of the most common pieces of advice about creating characters is to know them⎯⎯⎯thoroughly. I never know my characters. I get to know them as I write about them. My detective comes into contact with my protagonist and my protagonist speaks. The detective I’ve created has to respond and as the conversation moves forward I learn things⎯⎯⎯like my detective’s habit of raising his eyebrows when he hears something that doesn’t ring true; or his habit of running his fingers though his hair; or winking. I also learn if he has quick wit or if he has an attitude. Once I learn these things, based on the lines of dialogue that I write for him, I see him forming in my mind. And then I go forward allowing him to be himself. The more I write about him the more I learn about him, so that at the end of my novel I have a well-developed character that I didn’t spend a lot of time creating at the beginning. He just evolved. Call it creativity, my friends.


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