In my circle, my friends have gotten used to me talking about my characters giving me the silent treatment. For me, my writing style is very character driven and one where I let my characters do the talking while I watch (and write) the scene.
Every writer has their own writing process and the way they create and write their characters. If you’re writing a story that is heavily character driven, take a moment to get to know them better by interviewing them.
While you’re getting to know your characters, remember to not spend all your time on the interview process. Many writers get distracted by this and never get their stories written. Also, sometimes characters will start to reveal themselves as you move forward in your story.
I’ve been writing story with a female character who’s supposed to be the most self-centered, materialistic person. However, no matter how much I’ve rewritten and worked to make her unlikable, she keeps coming out as a very likeable person. In this case, the character is going to be who she wants to be (no matter what I do). Sometimes you can reshape your characters to be how you want them to be, but other times—well, they can be a little stubborn. The point is to let your characters introduce themselves to you through the writing process.
In other cases, they way you develop your characters is the way they will turn out. As you move forward in your character development ask yourself (and your characters) these questions:
- What is your character’s full name?
- What is their date of birth?
- What is their relationship with their parents like?
- Do they have siblings? What is the birth order?
- What color are their eyes?
- What color is their hair?
- Do they have any tattoos? Birthmarks?
- What body type are they?
- What do they do for a living?
- Do they have any hobbies?
- Are they dating someone? Married? Single?
- Do you have children? Do you want children? How many?
For more general questions to ask your characters, check out this site.
Once you have the basic questions answered, you can delve further into knowing your characters by asking them more interesting questions:
- What is your greatest fear?
- What is your greatest desire?
- Where would like to live?
- What are your goals?
- What is your favorite book?
- Which fictional character do you best relate to?
- How would you like to die?
- What trait do you wish you had?
- What trait do you wish you didn’t have?
- What does a romantic date look like to you?
- What do you dislike most in people?
For more in-depth questions to ask your characters, check out these questions to help get you started.
If you want to read more about character development, here are a few links worth reading: