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Blog by Tess – Creating Characters for Your Book

When you’re writing a fictional book, there are some things to consider when creating characters.

THE NUMBER OF MAIN CHARACTERS  

How many main characters will you have in your book? You don’t want to have too many main characters, but at the same time, you’ll want enough characters to make a story line. In my Rita Honeycutt series, I’ve chosen to have five main characters. Two of the main characters are from one family: a brother and sister. The other three are from another family: Twin brothers and a sister.

NAMING THE CHARACTERS

I have a rule when using a name of a character. I don’t use the first and last names of people whom I know.  For my mom’s side of the family, I have family tree records dating back to the eighteen hundreds that I can select names from. I’ve also kept an old copy of a telephone book around to look through when needing to come up with character names.   There are different sources you can use to come up with names.  

You can even make up last names for a character, even if the name ends up being a funny one.  In a fiction book, the name doesn’t even have to exist in the real world.      

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Now back to the article.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER ABOUT EACH CHARACTER

Now that you have the first and last name of each character, here is a list of questions to ask yourself as you develop each character and write out a bio page on each one.

  • What color is their eyes?
  • What is the color of their hair?
  • What is the height?
  • What is the age?
  • When is their birthday?  Be careful here in working with birth dates.   
  • What is the build of each character (tall and muscular; tall and skinny, etc.)?
  • What grade are they in, or are they in college?
  • What school do they attend?
  • Do they still live at home with their parents?
  • If in high school or college, do they have a part-time job?
  • What kind of part-time job do they have (if they have one)?
  • Are they out in the adult world with their own career?
  • What type of personality do they have (easy to get along with, love picking on a sibling, etc.)?
  • What are their likes?
  • What are their dislikes?
  • What foods do they like?
  • Do they have a church they attend? If so, where?

There are probably other questions I haven’t brought up that you’ll run into as you write each book.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARENTS

If the main characters still live at home, you’ll need to write a bio page on each parent. Here is some information you’ll need to consider about each parent.

  • Are both parents still living? If so, you need to create a bio page for each one.
  • Where and what type of job does the dad have?
  • Does the mother work outside the home? If so, what does she do and where does she work?
  • What physical description does each parent have (height, the color of hair, the color of eyes, etc.)?
  • What type of personality does each parent have?
  • What are their likes?
  • What are their dislikes?  
  • What are some things they won’t tolerate from their children or other people?
  • Do the parents attend church? If so, where?

Again, there may be questions that you’ll think of, as you write the book.

OTHER CHARACTERS

As you write your book, you’ll need to come up with a name and a bio sheet for each character that you add to your book. Uses the same questions that I’ve listed above to describe your character.  Also ask yourself, what part will the character play in the book? In other words, what role will they play?   Are they a good character, or a bad character?

In my closing thoughts, I’ll add this. It is important to keep good records on the bio sheets that you use for each character. For example, in book number three of that series you’re writing, you’ll want to make sure that the proper age and grade they’re in is appropriate. It wouldn’t do to write book number three and have them remain the same age and in the same grade of school.

Also, you need to ask yourself if they’ve learned a new skill since the last book you wrote. Have they changed part-time jobs? Are they attending college now?    This and other questions will need to be answered in each book that you write.

Keeping an updated bio sheet on each character will help you to keep the characters accurate in each book you write.  

That’s all for now.

Have a wonderful week.

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T&R Independent Bookstore is a division of T&R Independent Books founded in 2014 by R. Frederick and Tess Riddle. TR Ministry, aka Ministry Services, is both a charge and an exciting outreach to the Christian Community.

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