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Creative Writing – Getting to Know your Character – by S.A. Barone

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Creative Writing
Getting to Know your Character
by S.A. Barone
The most effective way to create a believable character is to really know your character. Create unique traits that will set your character apart from the others.
Tags are a good way to give your character personality. A tag is something you give your character that no other character has in your story. What if your character is a girl and somewhat of a tomboy? Maybe she wears baseball caps backwards and chews wads of bubble gum.
Your character also needs a name that fits their description. If your main character is a girl, and a tomboy, maybe her name might be something like Georgiana but her nickname is Georgie.
Some humor in your characters traits and descriptions can be a lot of fun as well. Maybe Georgiana is small, with cute little blond curls sticking out from under her baseball cap. You can give her big blue eyes and have her be the youngest kid in her class, but, this small, sweet looking little girl can also hit a mean baseball, is very brave, braver than most boys her age and isn’t afraid of the school bully.
Another good way to get to know your character is to make a list. What is the gender of your character? What is your character’s name? How old is your character and what grade is he/she in in school? What color is his/her hair, and eye color? How big is your character, is he/she skinny or husky? Is your character happy or gloomy?
On your list put down three things your character is good at and three things your character is not good at. This is another good way of getting to know your character.
Who is in your character’s family? Where does your main character live? What about their room or their house. Do they have a pet or pets, if so, what kind? Maybe he/she has a tarantula, and an old grouchy scary cat for their pets.
How does your character react to emotions, like if your character discovered he/she had supernatural abilities? How would they react to being bullied? This is where you can add all your own “what ifs.”
Creating characters for your stories can be lots of fun, it’s one of my favorite parts of writing when I’m about to start a new story. Whether your character is a child, teenager, or perhaps your character is a horse or dog, whatever it might be, make sure they are strong, interesting, and endearing enough to make your readers love them.
Happy Writing
S. A. Barone
Shirley is a published children’s writer. She has publishing credits in Highlights for Children, Turtle, Children’s Playmate, Humpty Dumpty, and Chicken Soup for the Pre-teen Soul. Shirley  has won a Distinguished Meritorious Service Award from the California School Boards Association for authoring an elective program that was adopted in schools in the Western United States and in areas of New York City. To learn more about Shirley and her art, visit www.sabarone.com

Image by Norman Rockwell - oil on canvas - Girl with the Black Eye

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1 Responses »

  1. Shirley,

    I am writing to you because my brother's name is Salvatore A. Barone. My name is Georgiana and I was called Georgie when I was a kid.

    I googled my brother's name, who by the way is an artist who does abstracts, and your name came up. Your article "Getting to Know Your Character" with the character's name "Georgiana" amazed me.

    By the way, your paintings are great. I just had to write and tell you about the similarities in your article.

    God Bless,

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