Toolbox – Create a Character

Well written characters engage the reader and make them feel as though they have have made a new friend. This page includes a collection of activities to help you create interesting characters. get started with your writing.

Read! This is the most important thing for any writer to do. Read everything. Notice the books that don’t appeal to you. Can you define what it is that made you disengage from the story? It often comes down to character and believability.

Reread books that you really love and notice how the author handles characterization and character description.

Collect mannerisms. Pick an emotion and for the next few days, track it in the people that you see. Keep a notebook--a small one that you can carry in your pocket to jot down what you notice.
  • How do different people show that they are bored; how do they disguise it?
  • How do you know when someone is impatient or irritable?
  • What about stronger emotions like fear, anger, love?
  • Did you catch them out in a lie? What did they do with their bodies, their hands?

Go shopping for your character and pick out an outfit or two that they would love. What wouldn't they be caught dead in?

Pick a few different words or phrases that your character would use. Have them express them in anger and in humour etc.

Choose some mannerism that distinguishe your character from others. Can you visualize your character doing these things?

Write a letter to your reader as if you were the character, using first person. And/Or write a letter from one character to another at some point in your story.

Interview your character for a radio talk show, a magazine, or a job.

What is in your character’s refrigerator? You can learn a lot about a character by the state of their fridge.