top of page

Writing your Characters

An Author's guide to giving birth to the Characters that shape your stories.

Why do the Classics remain Classics? – everything you need to know about what makes a character that resonates with your readers!

Resonating Characters

Aramis, Bilbo Baggins, Cheshire Cat, and Sherlock Holmes. What do they all have in common? You recognize them. At the very least, you recognize the last three, and if you're having difficulty placing Aramis, try The Three Musketeers. But the better question is, why do they stand out amongst the backdrop of literally millions of characters that Authors have created since the beginning of the written word? One word. Depth.

Writing a solid character means building the entire history and background of the individual. When you go on a date, you don't have them state their name, and then you consummate the relationship, right? Or maybe you do, no judgment. But traditionally, you would want to ask questions and hear their history; in a sense, you are interviewing them. Your readers want the same thing. They are essentially dating your characters. They want depth of character.

Building Depth

There are thousands of Best-Selling authors who have written books about this subject, and I am not telling you I rank amongst them, but I can tell you that I have a profound understanding of the human psyche. I won't bother you with my list of education or history, but I will say that when it comes to leaving an impression on people, few can hold a candle to me. Positive or negative, I know how to leave an impression.

This is exactly what your characters need to do! You decide whether it's positive or negative, but the keywords in that sentence are "You decide." But it's not surface actions that define your character entirely; it's more about the underlying emotional and historical journey you build for them. That said, human beings are highly judgmental; if you don't believe me, ask your kids how their peers are treating them at school. That's a learned behavior and something that follows humans through adulthood. Trust me when I say I could walk you through the stages of Freud's five psychosexual stages; oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital stages, and the erogenous zones associated with each step, like no other professor before me. And believe it or not, that is something you should know. If this is the basis for human development, how can you create a character without them going through these stages?

Now I don't mean literally; I mean figuratively.

Start From the Very Beginning: A Very Good Place to Start!

Understand Your Character has Freewill: ish...

Love or Hate: Is Your Reader Left Loving or Hating Your Character?


Start From the Very Beginning: A Very Good Place to Start!

Aside from the blatant ripping off of Sound of Music, it's actually exactly where you need to start. When I was beginning my MFA in Literature, shout out to SNHU, I attended a class almost entirely about character development. The Professor gave us a form to fill out that asked a series of questions about the character and forced us to start from the beginning and work your way through their fictional lives.

External Characteristics

Name: Does your character have a nickname, or are there other names that different characters use to address this character or talk about them behind their back?


Time period: When does the novel take place?

Setting: Where does the novel take place?