How do you make your characters live and breath? People remember great characters  — Dickens was great at this. How can we do it?

I wish there was a great secret we could use, but I think it’s just the same things we’ve heard before:

Think of the ways we come to know a new neighbor: bad neighbor

  •     By their actions
  •     By their speech
  •     By their appearance
  •     By others’ comments
  •   In conflict, in the moment of truth

Find out what your characters lie about.  Sometimes lying reveals inner wants.

A  simple summary:  We reveal character by:

  •     DIALOGUE
  •     ACTION
  •     REACTION
    •     thoughts
    •     feelings

by discovering what the character

  •       WANTS
  •       IS AFRAID OF

For me, finding out what the character’s dream is helps most of all. That, and my dreamtheir dialogue.

Images courtesy of:


6 responses to “Characters

  1. Character in a novel are the most important thing to get right. A plot can be average, but if a reader can really identify with your protagonist, they’ll stick with it. I am no expert, but for me, it’s having characters who have issues or problems that everyone can relate to.

    KM Weiland has a handy little (free) E-book called ‘Crafting Unforgettable Characters’ which is a useful read:

  2. Thanks again for a great post. I recently had a character I was having trouble “getting to know”. So I did a quick free write with the character in first person. I started with the phrase.”I remember when…” After fifteen minutes. I had the key event in his life that caused him to act the way he does. It was pruely accidental but that detail helped to flesh out the rest of his personality.

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