Discovering Your Characters

How do you discover who your characters are? Do you already have them fully developed by the time you start writing about them? Or do you need to do a little sleuthing first?

When it comes to developing an idea for a story, it’s a good idea to start with the characters. They are, after all, who your readers will be invested in the most.

A name is a good place to start. When you meet someone for the first time, you always notice their physical characteristics before they tell you their name. But that doesn’t tell you what they’re like. It’s only after learning their name that the conversation starts, and that’s when you start finding out who they are.

Whenever I have a new idea and I want to try it out, I usually have an inkling of what the characters are like, but without a name, I don’t really know them. And even after finding the right name, that still doesn’t tell me who they are.

They have to talk, and for them to talk, I test them by throwing them into various situations and trials. Doing this shows me how the characters react, what they do about it, how it affects their relationships with other characters, and how it changes them.

Most of the time, the more I write about my characters, the more I discover who they are.

However you do it, don’t forget to write down everything you learn about your characters. A note (or several) a day keeps the inconsistencies away.

Tell me your thoughts below in the comments! How do you develop your characters?

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