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Bringing Your Characters To Life

Updated on June 21, 2015
So you want to write a book
So you want to write a book | Source

So You Decided to Write a Book

So you have decided to write a book. That's quite a step. Have you decided what type of book? Have you put thought into what you will be writing?

That will be your next step. The next question is, have you put any thought into the characters of the book? These character that you will be writing with, dare I say, living with, while writing your book can make you or break you.

What do I mean by that you might ask. Well, I am going to answer that question with a question. Have you every read a book where the plot is entertaining but the people or characters in the book seem flat? A character that seems real can help make that book a best seller. However, if the characters seem flat or boring it can kill a book.

First believe that you are a writer
First believe that you are a writer | Source

Believe in yourself

Now that we know how important characters can be to the success of a book, lets look at how we can help them be real.

Before we begin make sure you believe in yourself. If you don't believe you are a writer you won't be. If you do not have the confidence to identify yourself as a writer you will not have the confidence to complete a book.

Good luck, I know you can do it.

Just who is your character?
Just who is your character? | Source

Building your character

I will begin helping you make you characters real by giving you the things you need to make them become whole.

First of all, your character needs to have a physical description. How can they feel real if you don't know how they look? Are they fat, thin, big, little, ugly, beautiful, cute as a button? Do they have blonde, blue( ah, teens these days), red, brown hair? What color are their eyes? Are they missing a leg, arm, have an extra finger? You get the idea.

Now we need to work on personality. Are they happy natured, sad, silly, serious? Are they stubborn, friendly, stuck-up, willing to help? What are they thinking? Are they quick to laugh? Do they even have a sense of humor? Do they look down their nose like they smell something bad when they meet someone? You'll get there. There are so many facets that you can use to make your character a real person.

Don't forget that your character didn't just appear in a puff of smoke. They have a past. Or at least they do if they are to become real. Where was he/she born, where do they live now? Have they committed a crime, have they been abused, has their life been like a dream? Anything you can give us about a past can only help. Get creative.

Also, what is their name, age, gender, ethnic background? What is her family like, what kind of friends do they have? I could go on and on but I am sure by now you realize you need to make a real life for your character.

Imagine your character standing in front of you.
Imagine your character standing in front of you. | Source

Becoming Real

Now you know some of the more important things you need to develop your character into a living, breathing person, it's time to go on to the next question you might have. How in the world do I get all of this information together? The answer is, imagination.

How do I build a character? First I start thing about what I want to happen in the book. Next, I think about the type of person it will take to make this happen.

Then I sit back in a quiet spot, close my eyes and slowly let my character start to build.

For example, the character in my upcoming reluctant readers book has come together quite nicely:

  • she is a petite girl with a slight body
  • her hair is long and medium brown with golden and red highlights that sparkle
  • her eyes are a golden brown, shine with anticipation, they spark when she is angry
  • she has a little nose that crinkles when she smiles
  • there are little dimples next to her pink lips that come out when she laughs
  • she loves a good joke and believes that most people are good
  • she has a quick mind, her grades are way above average
  • she likes to draw
  • her fingers are long, great for playing the piano
  • she is slow to anger, but once she is angry, watch out
  • she wears bright colors and has a girly way of dressing
  • she left a boyfriend behind, she's unhappy about that
  • she loves to read, especially mysteries and ghost stories
  • her mother got married a few months ago and they moved to the country
  • she has always lived in the city
  • she makes friends easily
  • she has a small scar on her left ankle where she had stitches when she was three

The list goes on and on. I tried to give you a variety of characteristics so you would know just how important a rounded list of characteristics are needed to make your character real to others.

I can see her walking, talking, and carrying on with life in my mind now. She was built up in my mind piece by piece, she is now real. It doesn't happen quickly. believe me, you have to put in a lot of hard work. It is worth it.

Now, it's time to get busy and start building your character. Good luck I look forward to hearing about your progress.


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      AudreyHowitt I find the character harder to form than the plot. That's why I had to find a way to make the character write the story.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Very useful article! I often find this is the hardest part really--plot lines seem so much easier

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      @smcopywrites it is a struggle for some. I enjoy making a character, it's like giving life.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      nicomp aometimes people forget that they need to have a history for their characters.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 2 years ago from all over the web

      Wonderfully written. It is always nice to get advice on this particular piece of a book which countless writers struggle with. thanks for sharing some wonderful info

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      This seems very important to me because when I get a contract for a prequel I will wish my main character was not an orphan with no siblings.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      purplepeach bringing a character to life can be challenging if you don't go into it by visualizing detail.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wonderful advice, the description, a detail of the features could make a character comes alive

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      @Randy I try. I know it can be hard for some of us to make a real person out of an idea.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      @pstraubie48 thanks for the angels. I do believe that the character should take over the story. I know I let the character decide what is happening next.

      Good luck with the fictional part of writing. I'm pretty sure you already have the non-fiction well in hand.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Great advice for those of us trying to make our characters have a life of their own. :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is so important, KoffeeKlatchGals.....Often the process of making characters real happens as the character takes over the know?

      I find that when I write often the story writes itself...I am only the vessel. However most of what I write is nonfiction.

      I am exploring fictional writing too

      Great hub Voted up++++ and Shared g+ tweeted

      Angels are on the way to you this afternoon. ps

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      @aviannovice how true. If your character doesn't appear as a real person to you it certainly won't to the reader.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Great suggestions. One must learn about the character like one learns about a friend.