On the Writers in the Storm Blog, I offer suggestions how you can create characters with voices so distinct that your readers can “hear” theme music for each one.
Do your characters feel flat? Do they all sound like you and only you? Tune in to the music of character voices, make them sound more like the different instruments of a band or orchestra. Make music with your character voices and your readers won’t be able to get enough of the stories you write.
Great characters are the key to great fiction.Donald Maass, Writing the Breakout NovelDonald Maass, Writing the Breakout Novel
What or Who Your Character Is
There are many things to consider when creating your story characters. Many how-to-write articles suggest creating a detailed profile of your characters. Delving into a character’s birth place, likes and dislikes, job, hair color, and using tools like spreadsheets and fill-in-the-blank questionnaires can be helpful, but characters are more than the details on a spreadsheet or form. Character are more than their story role, more than the point of view you choose for them, and more than what they do in the story. Your characters each need a voice, a unique voice. But how do you create that?
The Key to Understanding Characters
When a writer is told they’re too young or haven’t lived enough life to write about it, it’s often because of a lack of understand the basics of character or even life. A general understanding of psychological personality types will go a long way to helping you create varied and interesting characters.
Learn about the fundamental personality types. Go deeper than Wikipedia, though it may give you an overview that is helpful. There are literally millions of sites on the internet that discuss variations on personality types. Choose one that’s reliable like psychcentral, psychology today, and The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Psych Central has a helpful explanation of what is personality. Psychology Today discusses the basics of personality traits. NIMH has a great resource on personality disorders. Those three sites offer multiple articles on personality, personality traits, and personality disorders.
Read about establishing your character’s musical pitch and more in the rest of my post at the Writers in the Storm blog.