Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Share The Knowledge Series - Character Development

This week, while I am taking a quick break with the family, I am calling on the authors to work together with each other. During the SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE SERIES we will focus on a single issue each day and share how individual authors deal with some of those troubling issues in writing and publishing. Hopefully each day authors will be able to walk away with a new approach to writing, while at the same time, sharing with others things that have helped them in the past.

It is my hope that both published and unpublished authors help out! You know the success you get when you provide suggestions and get feedback from your critique groups. Now we are doing it on a larger scale.

The topic for today is:

So, how do you decide on your characters? This goes beyond name choice here. We want to figure out how we decide what our characters look like and act like? Do you use models? Picture boards? Tell us.


  1. I don't know how other writers do it (and I would be glad to know!) but this is what happens to me: I see the characters or families of characters in my head. They may be based on people I know, actors I like, etc. I might even see their homes, the places they like to go, etc. I've started using Pinterest to pin my ideas. I tried using physical boards, but to me they are time consuming and I always forget to add to them. Pinterest is so easy.

  2. I like to use a picture after I get an idea of what I want my character to look like. Once I find a picture I give them a name, personality and characteristics I like. I usually print out the picture and keep them by me while I am writing. I also like to take a few family members or people I meet and roll them into one character and make one eccentric person.

  3. Having now written 2 books, the first already traditionally pubbed and the second slated for release by that same publisher this fall, I have to admit, I tend to to see my characters in my head as I go. I've created a word file where I detail my characters, how they look, their jobs, love interests, family relations, anything that I think I'll need to refer back to throughout the writing of the book, or series. As I write a new character, or include some important information, I slip over to the other Word file and fill in the information, then go back and continue writing.

    This has been extremely helpful, since believe me you do forget if your female protag had blue eyes or brown, or her best friend had short blonde hair, or long black hair. If you're working on a series, or need to revisit characters from a previous book for any reason, keep a log of character profiles. It'll be invaluable.

  4. I focus on personalities before I even start thinking about physical attributes. 'Cause like in real life, no one can help what physical attributes they're born with. Looks are a secondary detail for me. Who the character is and what they want comes first.

    But when I get around to height, skin tone, eye color, and such, I do a quick jot in a word document and leave it at that. If the details comes out in the story (whether it turns out to be important or not,) then I have a reference. I try not to use actual people for models because most of the pictures you find online have been airbrushed or altered. They're too unrealistic for me.