Category: Advice for New Writers

How do you create your fictional characters? Here’s one approach

Which do you enjoy most, fiction with quiet, calm characters or fiction with swashbucklers and quirky rogues?

Be honest about your answer now. No hedging, no hum-hawing around.

Yeah, that’s what I thought. If you’re like most people, I suspect you want the quirky characters with an air of danger, a dash of charm, and a sense of humor. That’s been true with popular fiction since well before the days of television soap operas, or Johnny Depp pirate movies. I recall reading that fans of Charles Dickens would gather along the wharves in New York City’s harbor eagerly waiting for the latest installments of Chuck’s tales. Believe me, they didn’t do it to contemplate the depth of his prose narratives. They did it to see what his rascals were up to.

Build your characters as you’d choose to recreate your duller friends, and you’ll be okay. Indeed, good friends who mean a lot to you may well end up in much of your fiction. If you’re like most of us, you picked up friends because you first fought with them on school playgrounds when you were kids, or you competed against them in college, or you lost a business deal to them or beat them out of a business deal. Human beings are cantankerous creatures, and often someone needs to “whack” us metaphorically to get our complete attention — hence, friendships often form best amid conflict. But I digress.

Perhaps you have a special friend who caught your eye with a smile across a crowded room and now holds the center place in your life? If so, congratulations. (That’s how I met St. Shirl and we’ve been happily married now for more than 40 years. She’s still first and foremost my best friend.)

Now get out there and create, or re-create, your friends and enemies the way you really would like them to be — strong, edgy, fiercely committed. Write all that down and you have a set of characters. Put those characters together at a party, on an airliner, a cruise ship, whatever, and see how they act and react to each other.

You do that, writing down quickly everything that happens, and you’ve got yourself the beginnings of an Interesting Story.
[tags]writing tips, advise for new writers, create characters, creating stories, popular writing, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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