Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to Birth a Character-for Writers

1. Decide it's the right time to have one. Although really, there never is a perfect time where you have enough money, enough energy, enough time to put your life on hold.

2. Conceive the character. (Some people skip step one and start here).

3. Confirm that, indeed, an idea has taken hold and germination has begun. This includes stripping away a possible storyline, conflicts, their love interest and any other symptoms of your story to your character alone. Is it viable? Can he or she stand alone without all that? Are they still interesting?

4. Start dreaming about what he or she may look like, their interests, their likes and dislikes, what their favorite food will be, what entertainment they'll like...

5. Start buying up books. What to Expect when you're Creating , Fleshing out your Character, Character Wise, The Creative Writer's Companion, Birthing Characters from Within.. (some people skip this step but I find it very useful).

6. Prepare a place for your character to thrive in. Nothing that can suffocate them, you're still in the creative process. But it's time to add some color, some decorations and details to his/her surroundings, and of course, a comfort creature.

7. Pick out a name. What's the meaning? Will they resemble a Phial Flahertty or Fanny McGillis?

8. It's finally time to put pen to paper. You've prepared for this moment a long time now the labor has to begin.

9. Some people race through the process, other take a looooong time. Get that first draft in place and slowly but surely, your character will begin to emerge.

10. Wonder how your character is so brilliant, so funny, so wonderfully perfect.

11. Sleep deprivation sets it as your life begins to revolve around tending for your characters. You stay up late into the night with them or early in the morning. Sometimes both.

12. Start wondering why you ever thought you were a fit writer. `It sounded like such a good idea those months ago when you first conceived the idea dangit Why didn't anyone tell you it was this hard!! This is NOT what you signed up for.

13. Sleep! I need sleeeeep!

14. He/she smiles at you and you melt. You can see a real being coming to fruition. You feel like you can keep going, that it will be worth it in the end.

15. Some weeks you make more progress then others. Most of the time, you feel like you're constantly going back over the same spots, cleaning up the verbage, trying to erase stains and spills and get them into a realistic routine.

16. Suddenly, in the middle of a hectic day, you realize that your character has grown up. That he/she is fully formed now with a real personality, dimensions, good traits and bad habits. You love them in a way you never thought possible. Each day they taught you something new about themselves, you helped them reach every milestone. You realize that while you still don't know everything, you sure did a fabulous job. Everyone admires your characters and think they resemble you in a way.

16. Start wondering if it's time to make another character.


  1. It's quite the process isn't it...but such an amazing journey! :D

  2. This is amazing! I am working on my novel RIGHT NOW and this is a great shot in the arm. I do almost all the things you mention. We need to swap drafts sometime.

  3. Wait a minute!?! Is this a coy way of announcing you are ready to get pregnant again? (You don't have to answer that...much to personal, eh?)

  4. Haha Madelyn is JUST now sleeping through the night. I'm afraid I need to relish my sleep for a little while longer. YES I heard about your novel! I'm sooooooo excited. Any chance I could read a chapter or two or ten!?!?

  5. Well, to me, this post shows off your already present talents as a writer. Let the novels begin!

  6. This is an excellent post and really does show your writing are so clever! xoxo

  7. Jenna, this is an amazing anaolgy! I loved the connections you made, and the insights you had


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