Category Archives: Building Characters

Creating Characters from Scratch

By Melanie Anne Phillips   In this article, we’ll first take a quick look at the origins of the concept of fictional characters, then outline some practical techniques for creating compelling characters from thin air.   Where Do Characters Come … Continue reading

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Character Introductions

Some stories introduce characters as people and then let the reader/audience discover their roles and relationships afterward. This tends to help an audience identify with the characters. Other stories put roles first, so that we know about the person by … Continue reading

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How do you create a main character who is an antagonist?

A writer just asked, “Can I make my main character an Antagonist instead of the Protagonist?” My reply: The main character is the one through whose eyes the reader or audience experiences the story. It is the one around whom … Continue reading

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Character Background Stories

One of my writing students just asked, “What do I need to develop about a character’s background story even though that character is not the main character?” My reply: For characters other than the main character, a background story is … Continue reading

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Write Your Novel Step by Step (25) “Who’s Your Main Character?”

Of all your cast, there is one very special player: the Main Character. Your Main Character is the one your story seems to be about – the one with whom your readers most identify – in short, the single most … Continue reading

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Write Your Novel Step by Step (24) “Selecting Your Cast”

Congratulations! Over the last few steps you’ve learned a tremendous amount of information about your characters’ attributes, self-image, outlook, and personal issues. With all the work you’ve done, you probably have more characters than you need or want. Still, by … Continue reading

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Write Your Novel Step by Step (22) “Character Points of View”

Now that you know something about the personalities of your potential cast members, it is time to find out how they see your story. In this step, you’ll have each character write another paragraph from their point of view, but … Continue reading

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Write Your Novel Step by Step (21) “Auditioning Your Cast”

Now that you have mixed things up a bit with your potential characters, there is one last task to do before selecting which ones to hire for your novel: the audition! Each character is currently just a collection of traits … Continue reading

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Write Your Novel Step by Step (20) “Character Trait Swap Meet”

In the last step you made sure each of your potential characters had a vocation, name, gender, age and perhaps additional personal attributes. In this step we’re going to swap around some of those traits to make your list of … Continue reading

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Write Your Novel Step by Step (19) “Additional Character Attributes”

In previous steps you’ve assigned ages, genders and vocations or roles to your characters.  Like real people, however, your characters will also have a wide range of other attributes, such as the religion to which they subscribe, special skills like … Continue reading

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