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Writing – Know Your Character

I attended a writing workshop last month where ‘character’ was discussed, I thought I would share my notes from the session, hope you find them useful:-

Your characters whether in a novel or play are always key and if you get it right, are remembered more than the plot itself. Therefore understanding your character is vital and you need to get to know the main ones inside out, this may involve you taking a character for walk, chatting to him or her, analyse who he or she is. It’s not about the detail of the plot, rather know how the character functions emotionally, know how they would react to situations e.g. to dishonesty, threats etc. the process may be difficult but the discovery is important and it also saves on rewrites. The plot unfolds when one character reacts to another, the role of character is essential for the main characters

Things to consider:

a) Physical what is signifiant? gender, height, distinctive factors – if minor character- what does main character notice think of family friends involved

b) Personality traits and how they were developed dig deep into the psychology – their work or aspirations, hobbies, home where live – what is the house like, neighbourhood, quirks but don’t overdo these, pick one for safety do they have an image e.g. dress in black

c) Secrets, dig into these each may have a secret view of what happened often this is what drives characters, know goals and motivation. Also conflicts internal and external

d) Growth of the character, think about this and the general story line

e) Style of clothing, especially for character who is of an age you are not currently familiar with, e.g teenager

f) Manner of speech, dialect, phrases used

g) Misconceptions some may have these, maybe a character feels that their the mother looks down on him or her

Happy writing


Published by poetisatinta

I was born and live in rural North Wales (UK) and found poetry again after a lifetime, so grateful I did :)

2 thoughts on “Writing – Know Your Character

  1. I’ve always thought “growth” the most important as it encompasses all the other items in your list – if done correctly. That being said, sometimes it’s the character I least suspect who grows and takes over stories.

    Liked by 1 person

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