Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Creating Characters by Paul Doucette

Creating Characters 

     What makes a good, believable character? Is it someone created as an idealized persona or someone flawed with many of the everyday manifestations of being alive as a human? 

     In my story telling, I opt for the later, mainly because I want my readers to see in them characteristics they can easily identify in people they see or know. This allows them to form a ‘connection’ with them, one where they can care about what happens to them, one where they can cheer their successes or their failures, depending on their role in the story. 

     When I create a personality in my stories I attribute to them characteristics drawn from people I know or have seen in a myriad of situations both personal and general (social). In choosing the genre of detective fiction I found that my main problem in developing a cast of characters was to avoid the trap of making them more than they would be in reality. 

     My stories are populated with people you would see everyday; people you may recognize among people you know. Remember that the cast you create in a story are another component of the environment they live in and therefore have to be recognizable, believable. I, for one, do not know many forty plus year old policemen who go to the gym everyday for two or more hours and beat on heavy bags or press two hundred and fifty pound weights, at least who families. This does not make that man any less a hero or good at his job. I have been fortunate in my writing career thus far to have received several reviews of my stories that put the emphasis on my locations, characters and language. 

     So, I will end by recommending that when you think about your cast of players consider them as people not stereotypes. Think of them as people who would like to have a beer with you at your favorite watering hole. Paul


  1. Great advice if you write contemporary novels. I tend to write protagonists in alien worlds, in the faraway future, and even telepathic felines. Yet, I admit, they must have enough human characteristics so the reader can relate to them. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great advice on creating characters. I use Astrology to cast mine but they always ahve traits of people I know who belong to the particular sign.

  3. Great point, Paul, for authors to "avoid the trap of making (the characters) more than they would be in reality." So true!


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