Creative Writing – Creating the Perfect Character

So you want to write a novel and you have that perfect character in mind, where do you start? The truth of the matter is you start from the beginning. This is your chance to see what it feels like to create life.

In order to create a good character you have to know that person. One place to start is what is referred to as back story. Actors and actresses use this method all the time to help them get into character. If you know where your character is from, what his or her roots are, you will better understand that character.

Sit down with pencil in hand and tell yourself where your character was born, what were their parents like, were they middle class, poor? All of these questions will lead you to who your character is. For instance if your character was poor growing up, they aren’t likely to be brash about money as an adult. If they grow up in an upper middle class setting, then money isn’t really an issue for them and they would not react the same in a situation involving money.

What is happening here is that you are creating your characters traits and you can’t do that unless you know where they are coming from.

Second you need to give your character a life outside of your story. What does your character do for a living? What kinds of hobbies does your character enjoy? If your character is someone who enjoys things unrelated to the acts they will take in your story they will not be believable. For instance, if your character loves animals it is not likely that they would flee the scene of an accident involving a small dog. You have to make sure that your character stays “in character” and for that to happen you must create that character first.

Finally, take the time to get to know your character. There are many times in life when we meet someone and we know details about them but we never really get to “know” them. You have to “know” your character so that you can see what it is they will do in the story. The bottom line is this, if you create a good solid character all you have to do is allow that character to do what comes naturally to him or her, the story will then write itself.

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