Getting to know your characters

Current word count: 18,262

Words written today: 267

Words til goal: 21,738 / 444 words a day til the end of September

No kick up the you-know-whats for me. I knuckled down and got back to the first draft I’ve been working on. My daily word goal has risen because of my break, but I really want to keep to that end-of-September finish, so I’m going to try to stick with this.

I realized that something was bugging me about the story. It’s being told in two POVs, and one of them isn’t introduced until chapter eight, which had been gnawing at me for a while because I knew it was too late in the story. I was forging ahead with the writing anyway. But I think that was holding me back. So I started to work on a new earlier chapter that will introduce this character.

I’m hoping it will also help me see him a little better. I feel as though I know the other POV character better than this one, so I need some work in that area. My first novel was all in one POV, but it’s a lot of fun seeing this story through two different sets of eyes.

In seminars, I’ve heard a lot about doing background information for your characters, even filling out questionaires on their favorite colors and foods. For me, I like to get to know my characters through the writing. They come out and tell me what to say. Their personalities, their passions, frustrations, etc., rise up as the story goes along. The challenge is remembering everything that comes out in the story and keeping true to that throughout.

How do you get to know your characters?

Write On!


4 Responses

  1. xxhawkeyexx says:

    Wow! Well, I’,m glad that there’s someone out there that also likes writing in first PoV (you do, right?), and well, yeah, I like to get to know my characters through writing. I’ve seen/read that most people like writing in third PoV, I think it’s cool, but, when I read a novel in first person, I feel as if I’m able to get to understand the character in a deeper way, since to be able to know that “person’s” point of view and not knowing what others are doing makes some parts more interesting and unpredictable.
    Great post and blog! 🙂
    Take care, good luck,

  2. Thanks, Xxhawkeyexx. But actually, no, I’m writing in third-person limited, so each chapter is through the eyes of one character, but with he and she instead of I.

    I admire writers who can do first person. I think it’s difficult to do it really well, because the voice has to be so authentic to the character, age and everything.

    Are you writing in first person? If so, congratulations. I might try it one day, but for now, I like limited first person.

    Take care

  3. keidalgrim says:

    I also like your method for getting to know your characters (through the writing) as opposed to the questionnaire technique. I’ve tried that approach in the past — and to a single character — it’s killed my writing.

    Do what works. If only we heard that phrase, or some variation thereof (like, “one size does not fit all”), maybe more of us would be writing rather than reading about writing.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Yeah, I know what you mean, Keidalgrim. Thanks

What do you think?