If you write your characters like real people, they’ll read like real people.
But, in order to bring them to life, we first have to figure out who they are. Some writers want to understand their characters before they type a single sentence. Others like to learn about them on the way. Think of it like meeting online versus a blind date.
When you meet a potential date online, there’s an opportunity to get to know him before you’re face to face. You might discover that his blue eyes remind you of a cloudy day, that he works at a law firm, loves sushi, hates politics, and lost his mom to cancer in college. After you meet, there’s still more to learn. The same goes for your characters. As the creative process works itself out, be careful not to get stuck in your “online” first impression. Be willing to be flexible. You’ll get a better story.
When you meet on a blind date, you don’t know what to expect. You’ll probably notice those blue eyes right away, but the rest might take time. The same goes for your characters. You’ll be writing “blind” at the beginning. Be careful not to plow ahead without developing individual personalities for your characters. Once you feel you know them well, be willing to go back and tweak who they are.
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