Thursday, August 4, 2011

Character Creation

So my review of Fire by Kristin Cashore earlier this week brought some points to mind.  There is a lot of controversy over how feminist the book as a whole is and about Fire's character.  As I read the book I didn't notice these issues, maybe its because I just became so involved with the character herself and I could understand her decisions.  After finishing the book and looking at other peoples reviews and comments it got me to wondering about how authors create their characters. 

It seems to me that the each of us who writes put a tiny bit of ourselves into our characters, not that they are exactly like us but we might give them a feature, habit or value.  I think that maybe with Fire, Kristin Cashore might have put a little of her own self into the character, she then allowed Fire to make her own decisions.

In my own writing I often use little quirks about myself or an experience.  For example in one book I started a couple years ago call Tamlyn Marie's Grace I gave Tamlyn an gentle likability that would like to think I have as well, she was quite and yet friendly and most people around her liked her. However I didn't make her entirely like myself, I gave her a talent for singing. Another one of my characters has a habit of chewing on their bottom lip when nervous, a horrible habit of mine but I think it makes the character a little more real.

I think that using that little bit of yourself helps you to connect with your own character and really delve into who they are and what makes them tick. That extra little bit also helps the readers connect with the character, if it is something real to you then chances are it is real to someone else as well.  Just like our own opinions and values there are going to be people who don't agree with a particular personality trait chosen for the character, but there will be those who connect so well that they feel like they are with the character.

So those of you who are writers, what are some of the little bits of yourselves that you give to your characters? And readers, what about a character makes them real to you?


  1. My quirkiness, and my irritability. Apparently. This according to the books I'm working on, lol. One of them has a focus on my love of music, specifically oldies.

    As a reader, a character that isn't flat or cookie cutter simple. They don't have to be extremely different, but at least have something about them that makes them unique. (That seemed vague, ooops...) Kind of like, someone I'd like to be able to know in real life, someone I can be around and can talk to. If that makes sense. :P

  2. I think it's impossible not to put a bit of yourself in your characters.

  3. haha, I have found my poor characters suffer my moods. I guess that helps when I have so many different in progress books to work on.

    It makes complete sense Jessica, I know what you are getting at ;)

    I have to agree with you Jenny! I would have a hard time writting a character I share nothing in common with.