author, creative writing, writing

Getting to know a new cast of characters

Writing a book is a long and personal process. You spend huge lengths of time with your characters, discovering their deepest secrets and desires. So what happens when their story ends, and you take the leap into a new world, with a new cast.

But this isn’t easy. It can be hard to leave behind what you know, and I personally have had a tough time getting to my current cast of characters. So I thought I’d share some of the things I’m doing to try and get to know them a bit better.

Name them
It may sound really obvious, but there’s no harm beginning at the basics. Naming a character is the first step to making them feel like a real person. I’ve been known in early stages to write NAME HERE for minor characters I’ve not sussed out yet, but I’ve found this doesn’t help me picture them or who they really are. Choosing a name could be as simple as using a name you like, or a subtle hint towards their nature or story, but either way it’s important to have the names in place.
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Consider their positive and negative traits
Nobody is perfect and every character should have both positive and negative traits. This is the way to create well-rounded believable characters, that readers will be able to relate to.
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Discover their hobbies/interests
This may be relevant to the plot, it may not, but thinking of what your character’s hobbies and interests might be gives you a new insight into who they are. How do they like to spend their time? Who with? What makes them happy? It can be surprisingly telling.
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Find out their motives
All characters need motives. Without them you have no plot. What do they want? How far are they willing to go to get it? There are a number of motives a character may have. Love, fear, revenge, power, passion, survival. Whatever it is, make sure you get to the core of what they want.
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Write their back story
You may have no intentions of a character’s backstory getting into your novel. Especially for supporting characters, or those who don’t play a big part. But knowing it can be so valuable to a writer. Just write, even it’s only one page, the life events of that character before the events that take place in your story. The reader may not need to know, but you do!
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Have fun getting to know them
It’s not all about sitting in front of your laptop typing away. Dress as one of your characters and spend the day doing something they would do. Take personality quizzes and answer from their perspective. Listen to music and pick out the songs they would love and relate too. Writing is amazing, and creating characters is so much fun – enjoy it!
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How do you connect with new characters? I’d love your advice so please comment below.

Until then,
Keep writing,

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22 thoughts on “Getting to know a new cast of characters”

  1. I was so pleased to get your email notification this morning. This was perfectly timed for me as I’m getting to know a new character at the moment and she’s being problematic for me. I’m going to write a list of your ideas down and try them out. I’m particularly interested in trying to spend a day doing things the way she would. I think that will really get my brain ticking over.

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Toni Morrison would literally become depressed after finishing a project. Her solution was to immediately start another project where her seperation anxiety was from the process of writing itself. Me? I find that I miss my characters as well and think of them often. That’s what helps me, thinking of them as if they were down the street living their lives and wondering what they are doing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As a female you can forget me dressing up as an SAS officer in combat gear or a nine-year-old boy 🙂 I get your point but I’ll just have to imagine it instead 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really liked the idea about having fun and doing some personality tests! Horoscopes can help out too, or maybe checking the Chinese Zodiac for your character to find out possible personality traits. I think you also need time to get to know your characters – just like learning things about a new friend, a character needs time and patience to develop. Thank you for an interesting post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Uf, meeting new characters is hard ☺. A friend sent me interview questions for my characters. Sitting down and “talking” to them in an interview format was helpful in revealing their individual voices.
    Thanks for you great tips and happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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