Writing Advice: It’s All About Character!

It’s All About Character


Whenever you read an amazing book, what are the two things that stick in your mind? For me it’s the characters and what they did.

Now, think back to a book that just didn’t captivate your interest. Why didn’t you like it? Maybe you couldn’t relate to the character, or you didn’t like the character. The character didn’t make choices that made sense. These are all reasons people quit reading books or give them bad reviews. There are two things you have to have in a great story: Complete Characters and Plot. Without either of them, the book falls flat, and that’s not what authors want to do to their readers.

I don’t spend a lot of time on Character backgrounds because I’m a Pantster.

I’ve heard this reasoning before, but I don’t agree with it. Even if you write by the seat of your pants, you have to know who your character is so that you can get into their mindset when you’re writing from their POV.

My story is plot driven, so I don’t need in depth character backgrounds.

On the contrary my friend; even if you have a killer plot with all kinds of amazing twists and turns, you still have to know and understand your character or those twists and turns might feel forced instead coming as consequences of your character’s choice. Here’s some examples.

Example: If you have a character who’s a devout Christian, how can you have them walking into a clinic to have an abortion? In order to make this feel authentic, you have to know what buttons to push on your character or the choice feels forced and only serves to drive the plot the author created. But, if you know that they were sexually molested by their father growing up, and because they were raped by him, they’ve had a few abortions, maybe you can relate to them believing that death for that child is better than growing up in a world that might hurt them. She believes she’s saving her child from pain . . .a mercy killing. Throughout the rest of the story, you would be healing her pain while also giving her consequences for her action. This creates conflict and plot all by knowing who your characters really are.

This month we’ll be learning the importance of physical traits, personality traits, character bios, and then we’ll finish out with my review of Getting Into Character by Brandylin Collins.


How do you research your characters?