Character creation and dialogue are my absolute favorite things about writing. I was a freeform role player for a number of years and that was how I fell in love with creating characters. I have a love for studying people I don’t know, how they naturally speak, tone, their facial expressions, body language, etc. That crazy crack head in the Laundromat intrigues me and instead of shooing him away, I like to listen to him talk to himself.
Anyway, here are a few things I personally live by when creating characters.
* Personality stereotypes – avoid them. If while writing about your character you suddenly feel like something about her is too familiar, sometimes that’s a red flag, so don’t ignore it. You probably already know all about how it’s a bad idea to make your blond character dumb, your main character pathetic because she’s parentless, or your Southern character a country bumpkin. But what about the more subtle things? Watch out for making the blond preppy, the main character sexy, but with that one flaw you have to give him because no one’s perfect (like the dreaded scar on his cheek), or the Southern character that instinctively knows how to ride a horse or bait a hook.
* Randomness Works – Every character needs something about him that is random. Usually these traits are subtle, but they give your character, character. The young boy that always draws on his shoes, or the teenage girl that can’t control the shaking of her foot while sitting in class. Check yourself out and make note of some random things you do and use one! I can’t sleep with my feet covered and I’m addicted to popcorn. Random little quirks help make us individuals and often they give a character more character better than those prominent traits we give them, like how Ethan loves knives and carries one with him everywhere, or Phoebe is a Goth that always wears black.
* Character Traits – Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint how you want a certain character to be, or to act. You haven’t thought about that much, but you don’t want to be stuck trying to figure it out when you’d rather just be writing. Here’s an idea that I used for a couple of my past characters: look at this page, choose just one character trait, and go with it. Having an actual list of traits to sift through helped me find and choose one quicker and easier. A single word can open the floodgates for you.
Thanks for having me on your blog!
About The Mayfair Moon (The Darkwoods Trilogy #1)
Strange and tragic things begin to happen in the small town of Hallowell, Maine: residents come down with an unexplainable ‘illness’ and some disappear. In the midst of everything, Isaac Mayfair is adamant about keeping Adria safe, even from her sister whom he has warned her to stay away from.
As unspeakable secrets unfold all around Adria, impossible choices become hers to bear. Ultimately, no matter what path she takes, her life and the lives of those she loves will be in peril. As she learns about the werewolf world she also learns why her place in it will change the destinies of many. GoodReads
About J. A. Redmerski
J.A. Redmerski is a Contemporary Fantasy and YA writer – author of THE MAYFAIR MOON and DIRTY EDEN. She’s a mother, werewolf & zombie fanatic, book addict and a happy hermit obsessed with the Universe. Oh, and AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.
Jessica started her first novel at the age of thirteen and has been writing something ever since. Generally, she loves characters in life and on paper. She pays attention to people, especially those whose personalities make them different from the rest of us: the drug addict roaming the Laundromat that talks to himself, the young, inattentive mother in the park with the meanest kid on the playground – (the entire cast of ‘Swamp People’) – characters fascinate Jessica and she hopes that it shows in her literary work.
Some authors that inspire Jessica are Neil Gaiman, Cormac McCarthy, Max Brooks, Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling, Richard Matheson, William R. Forstchen, Carrie Ryan, Stephenie Meyer and Lisa Smedman.