Sunday, November 8, 2020


I find these 10 rules helpful when I'm creating characters. Even if I don't use half the stuff that I journal, having these little bits and pieces helps with plot development, as well as character development.

1.HOBBIES: What does you character like to do in their idle time? Study butterflies? Play Scrabble? Listen to obscure music? Collect mouse skeletons? 

2.HISTORY: Scatter a few memories throughout. Preferably significant memories that made your character who they are. Landmarks that shaped them. Did her mom teach her how to use a Polaroid and now she's a photographer? Did he once run over a toad with his bicycle? On purpose? Accident? If, on purpose, he's a budding serial killer. If, by accident, maybe he becomes a herpetologist. Did she witness something terrible near a row of lilacs and now the fragrance of lilacs sends her into a downward spiral? 

3.HABITS: Gestures and dialogue. Does he use a certain slang? Does she scratch her nose when she's laying? Does he crochet while he's thinking over a case he's trying to solve? Give your character at least one habit out of type (but not too many, or they'll appear twitchy.)

4.DESIRES: What the character wants. What do they yearn for? Does she want a beautiful cottage by the ocean? Does he want to rule a kingdom on Mars? Does she dream of becoming an author of a mythical atlas? It has to be something that will change their lives. Something they're willing to sacrifice everything for.

5.ACTIONS: Is your character a hero or a villain? A trickster or an anti-hero? What path do you want this character to follow? Succeed or fail? Be solitary or have friends? His actions must always strive toward your ultimate goal for this character. She has to take action in every scene she's in. This ishow she carries the story, how she swims forward against the obstacles flung at her. She has to cross that bridge of teeth. He has to steal that rare book written by his grandfather.

6.LIKES: What are your character's favorite things? Mint jelly? Men in powdered wigs? Charlotte's Web? Peacock blue lipstick? Give them likes and dislikes.

7.ECCENTRICITIES: Strange habits, weird thoughts, odd things that have happened to your character throughout their history. He only reads leather bound books. She picks her teeth with peacock quills.

8.SECRETS: Everyone loves a good secret. It doesn't always have to be a tragic one. But a character's secret can result in a grand betrayal or an unexpected alliance. He lived in a haunted house when he was young. She grows poison plants. He's a doppelganger searching for his missing original.

9.OBJECTS/CLOTHING: What they own. What they like to wear. Set decoration. A Margaret Keane painting of one of those big-eyed kids. A maple leaf with a name inked on it in gold. A corset embroidered with blue doves. A naga-handled kris dagger.

10.FAMILY/FRIENDS: The people who surround your character. Your character's support system. These can be actual family and found family, who are usually friends. They can follow the roles of advisors, allies, adversaries, troublemakers, comrades-in-arms, sibling substitutes, parent substitutes, etc; These are the people who reflect your character's strengths and weaknesses.