As the writer and creator of a fictional world with fictional characters, it’s important to know each character well, otherwise they are less believable to the reader.
An ancient African proverb states that, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. This means that every individual is influenced by the people around them; how they interact, how they view the world, how they view themselves – the list is endless.
In order to get to know my characters, I use large note cards to write down not only the physical aspects of each person, but also their personality traits and any common phrases or words they use, to distinguish each person to the reader. As I write, other personality traits may emerge, so I note them down as believing I will remember them all has failed me in the past. I also note their ages and birthdays – as a birthday party can be a great backdrop for gathering numerous characters together. I also note down what a character likes to drink and what hobbies they have. I may not use every detail I have noted down, but I do at least get to know my characters well – whether I like them or not!
If you would find it easier, you could make a list of questions to answer regarding each character. For example, what is the character’s weakness? who do they turn to when they have a problem? who or what makes them angry? what hurdle do they have to overcome in life? how do they relax? These are just suggestions and only a few at that, you’ll use many more to make your character well-rounded.
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