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Point of View: Writing Interesting Characters


Every writer has a weakness. Or two.

One of mine is characterization.

I came to this whole writing thing via reading lots and lots of sci fi and fantasy – really really long, epic fantasy – and so my great love has always been worldbuilding. I adore strange new worlds – Pern with its dragons and thread, Dune with sandworms and funny sand walking, and Asimov’s overarching Foundation and Psychohistory.

So when I write my stories, I start out thinking high level themes, weird and wonderful planets, and devices of great power.

Then I have to fill those stories with people, and that’s where I run into a wall.

I’ve never really given much thought to this. Usually the characters just happen and sort themselves out as I go. Sometimes they are interesting, cool folks who I’d love to F, M or K. But just as often, they end up a bit two dimensional.

So it’s time to study my character writing craft. I am wrapping up a couple big projects in December, and I have started to do some character work – reading books, thinking about how to add more traits and color, and creating character sheets to keep track of all their facts, figures and idiosyncrasies (and to prompt me to come up with new ones)

It seems like the perfect time, as I get ready to start my next novel in January.

So how do y’all write great characters in your own work? Any good references (books, websites, gurus) on working on your character skills? Share your thoughts and secrets with us!

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2 thoughts on “Point of View: Writing Interesting Characters”

  1. I’m not really sure—-practice, probably! I am more interested in plot and situation and after years of writing the dialogue seems to come easy and a lot of the character flows from there. Also, I plot out my stories and characters obsessively.

  2. I agree with Jeff Baker. The plot and sequence of events is my main focus. While developing those, the characters seem to be generated on their own! LOL

    Dialogue is another of my weaknesses.

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