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Tools to Help Create Character Background

June 27, 2017

When creating characters, it’s always helpful to interview them. “What? Interview a character that you’ve made up in your head? Isn’t that like having an imaginary friend?” Yes. Writers talk to their characters… all the time. It’s therapeutic, actually. And often times, while writing, your character may surprise you and do something completely unexpected. That’s when the fun happens.

So, in order to get to know what makes your character tick, it’s helpful to ask a lot of questions. You might not know the answers and sometimes you might have to think a bit about your character to get an idea. And don’t be surprised if those answers change a little bit down the road. Your characters won’t always be honest with you at first.

Now I know some of you may not be the best at interviewing and you may need a little help, so this blog is about providing you will tools for the process. There are plenty of questionnaires out there to help. And don’t think that any question is too odd. A question like, “what’s in your medicine cabinet?” or “What music is on their favorite play list?” can give lots of insight to your character.

Once you’ve gotten to know your character fairly well, write a short biography about them. Hit the highlights. Keep it to a couple paragraphs no more than a page. This will help you define their personality. At this point you should have a pretty could idea of how they’ll react in most any given situation. But like I mentioned earlier, they will surprise you on occasion.

There’s another tool that can be helpful to beginners. Once you’ve got a general idea of the personality types of your characters, use Persona to see how they interact with each other. This will help when writing those interaction scenes between the hero and villain, or even between the hero and his/her sidekick. Tinker around with it and see what pops. Until next week, keep writing!

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