ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

Characters in My Pocket

Updated on June 30, 2014
Source

Whenever I would read the works of really great authors, I would sometimes jealously make note of their remarkable abilities to capture observations that their characters would make in everyday life. They might relay a suddenly strange, possibly outrageous thought that came to the character's mind in a random situation. Or the character would make a clever, offhand remark about something ordinary or just the slightest bit out of the ordinary that they observed about one or more of their fellow humans.

I always wondered how they did that and assumed that it was some higher-level talent they possessed for completely inventing random, apropos-to-nothing, but yet extremely clever and real-to-life observations. Then I realized that like these fictional characters, I would make such random observations, some of which would nearly lead me to laugh aloud, perhaps giving the impression to the strangers around me that I was a little nuts...perhaps leading them to make little random observations that one might find a fictional character relaying in a story. I began to carry a little notebook with me, and whenever I would have such moment, I would write it down, no matter how much I wanted to drift off to sleep on the subway or just not stop and take the book out.

Character counts. Don't blame others carelessly. I had to take a picture of this because...well, you can't make this stuff up! It was too wordy to memorize and jot down quickly, and I didn't want to forget this gem. (For the record I wasn't driving.)
Character counts. Don't blame others carelessly. I had to take a picture of this because...well, you can't make this stuff up! It was too wordy to memorize and jot down quickly, and I didn't want to forget this gem. (For the record I wasn't driving.) | Source

Mysterious Posting

Spotted on a modestly sized sign along the median of a fairly busy highway:

Bio control of thistles test area

Sometimes I feel compelled to jot down a few words when noticing an odd sign or posting of some sort that makes me stop and think. Sometimes the sign will be oddly worded. Other times it just strikes you as obvious or redundant or misleading. Sometimes it will be so unique that you feel compelled to share it with someone - or perhaps to have a character relay it to the world through the thoughts she chooses to share with the reader.

Source
Source

Tips

  • If you are a purist like me, keep a tiny notebook in your back pocket or purse so you can scribble down a few colorful impressions of the world as they strike you. I suppose you can do the same on your I-phone, but to each his own.


  • Perhaps you have the skeleton of a story in your mind, possibly even fleshed out a bit on paper already. Then you already have an idea of who your characters are or will be, their personalities, habits, biases and vulnerabilities. If you are sitting among your fellow humans on the subway or isolated from them in the vast open loneliness of a virgin forest, crawl into your character’s skin and gaze out upon your surroundings with his or her eyes. Note: for the Hannibal Lecters out there, I meant this figuratively.


  • We have all met someone exhibiting a peculiar mannerism or consistently employing unique word choices. Even more impressionable are the occasional encounters with the consistent malaprop or two who likely hailed from other worlds and speak to us through highly flawed translation software. If we are self-aware, we may even recognize some of these in ourselves - good or bad. I have found myself observing these idiosyncrasies and incorporating them into my characters. And yes, I have culled these quirks from myself as well.


  • Expand your vocabulary. Look up unfamiliar words in the dictionary. Make a note of them and study the definitions. Incorporate the more esoteric or colorful words into your personal vocabulary or that of one of your characters.

Your Characters - A Poll

How do you create colorful characters for fiction?

See results

© 2014 The Zen Mistress

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      torgo1971 4 years ago

      Good advice for any aspiring writer

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)