The idea of a character can be warm until you actually see themneedtheir.
You're standing in line at the grocery store and your head is spinning with the whole story of a person who bought five tubes of toothpaste and a sympathy card. Then you go home and try to write a character you've been thinking about for three weeks and...
What do you want from life? What's your job? What makes them interesting?
Suddenly your creative mind becomes endless and empty.
We've all been through this on Dabble. We've also got character brainstorming questions to get the wheels rolling, quick tips for creating memorable characters, and plenty of character ideas you can adopt right away.
Character writing ideas
Whether it's a protagonist, a villain, or a precocious child who knows too much about adult affairs and/or sees ghosts, every character in a story should be a carefully crafted combination of many different elements.
I'll list these character ideas component by component so you can see what you might be missing and fill in the blanks accordingly.
components of character
As you explore each of the following elements to create a well-rounded character, remember to keep in mind your overall vision for this fictional friend (or foe). You don't want to use a character idea that "sounds interesting" for the Frankenstein character.
“Each component should work together with other components. You should serve."character sheetand forconspiracy.
The only exceptions are culture, race, disability, gender and sexual orientation. While it is important to understand how these details shape a character's perspective and experience, these identities do notI haveBe the center of the action.
A trait is a unique characteristic that makes your character's behavior or physical characteristics particularly memorable. While a quirk is based on an inherent characteristic (eg, an unusual fear of mailboxes), it manifests itself in a specific, repetitive behavior (eg, a tendency to yell at mailboxes).
This character element can give us a sense of how a character feels, reveal their values or priorities, or just make them feel more real.
Personality Traits Brainstorming Questions:
- Does your character collect anything? If so, why was this particular item important to you?
- What does your character do to comfort himself when he's scared?
- Is there a certain emotion that your character can't express? How is this repressed emotion expressed?
- Is there a phrase your character says often?
- Does your character have an unusual passion for an obscure task or a mundane hobby?
- Does your character have a particular fear or annoyance?
Character ideas you can steal:
- Sneeze when you are nervous
- You have a pet bee
- Use healing phrases in everyday conversations
- Rethink simple decisions
- Inadequate consideration of important decisions
- never find anything
- A new swarm every month
- A new business idea every month
- I compulsively agree with everyone who speaks
- At the end of each story he says, "That's the scope of the story."
- Steal from the lost and found
- Play for laughs at daydreams like old sitcoms
- Hire a nanny to keep the houseplants company
weaknesses and limitations
You know every episode needs a big obstacle - that huge, snarling dragon blocking your path. But what about the giant, roaring ogre soul? WhatKeepAre powers preventing your characters from achieving their goals?
Boundaries are especially important when they are brokenThe "all is lost" moment.. This usually happens when the main character has to deal with being disappointed. If you want to win, you have to change.
Brainstorm Character Limit Questions:
- How might your characters' personal stats prevent them from solving easy problems?
- Is your character pursuing the wrong goal? Why can't they see what is really best for them?
- How does your character see themselves and the world? Are they stubbornly rooted in these ancient beliefs?
- What trauma makes your characters approachable, suspicious, yearning for connection, etc.?
- Is there someone in your character you can't say no to?
- What is the biggest temptation your character faces?
- Is your character struggling to achieve goals due to physical limitations? (Side note: If your character has a physical disability that you don't, do your research and hire a counselor orsensitive reader. Someone in the disability community can help you avoid harmful stereotypes or misconceptions. )
Character ideas you can steal:
- Reject potential allies because they think everyone wants them
- Explosive anxiety causes hiccups every time they have to give a speech
- immediately trust anyone who is kind to them
- Don't do anything difficult for fear of failure
- She is desperate to impress people who never take her seriously
- he can't stand loneliness
- I hate asking for help
- no sense of direction
- no body pain
- They want to move up to the upper class but they don't fit
- I can't stop focusing on the worst
If you're obsessed with describing a character's appearance in three paragraphs, skip it. Never in human history has a reader desperately wondered if a protagonist has earlobes.
Instead, reset some attributes:
- reflects individuality,
- Tell us how others see the character.the
- Tell us how the characters see themselves.
Note: Physical characteristics such as race and disability do not need to have a deeper meaning. Diversity is reality, and that's enough diversity in the stories we tell. at this point,This is an incredible resource for describing skin tones.
Physical Traits Brainstorming Questions:
- Is there anyone in real life who reminds you of your character? Do they have any physical characteristics that seem to reflect their personality?
- How do others perceive your personality?
- What physical characteristics does your character feel insecure about?
- What physical attributes is your character proud of?
- Does your character have scars, marks, freckles, or other notable features?
- How does your character want others to perceive you? What did they do to achieve this?
- What is your character's favorite costume?
- How do your characters wear their hair?
Ideas for physical features you can steal:
- Wearing unique glasses
- Only wear clothes from the 1940s
- unkämmbares Haar
- I like makeup, I wear a lot of makeup every day
- always wear the same color
- they look like their siblings
- Dress up to take out the trash
- would wear shorts to a funeral
- Got a flashy and poorly designed tattoo?
- Broken collarbone from old hockey accident
- You wear the same accessories or clothes every day
- There is always dirt under the fingernails
occupation or hobby
"What are you working on?"
Personally, I hate this question because the answer "I'm a writer" almost always results in me having to explain how I pay my bills. Honest,the morePeople I know hate asking me what they do. However, we asked each other why it offers a wealth of information.
How does this person spend each day? Is it your passion? If they hate it, then what do they hate? What would you most like to do?
We experience the same awesomeness when we get to know your character's personalityHerTime.
Brainstorm questions related to the character's career/hobbies:
- Does your character's work allow her to bring out her best strengths and interests?
- Does your character dream of a better job?
- Do your characters hate their jobs? If so, why do they hate it? Why did you choose it?
- How do your characters' jobs or hobbies allow them to show off their skills?
- What limitations or weaknesses do we see when we see your character at work?
- How does your character's career affect their journey?
- What activities bring your characters deep joy?
Character ideas you can steal:
- He worked as a dog trainer but dreamed of becoming a horse trainer
- resignation from the lot
- I spend every hour after school writing fanfiction
- I work at the toll booth and I love it
- Dream of opening a cat cafe
- Learn ballet and become a better soccer player
- I just got into competitive birding
- Running shoe store with a husband who fears the marriage may be destroyed
- Become a runner just to be alone
- Sale of timeshare
- Get a full-time job as a thug
relationship is life That's why I get frustrated ("angry," my friend might say) when the romantic comedy—one of the greatest art forms of all time—has anything to do with cliches.
She's beautiful, but she doesn't know it because she's too busy chasing her dreams in the big city. He wasn't much of a friend until he saw her spill coffee all over him. They are all very funny.
NO. not enough. Someone tell me why these two are better together than apart. How do they bring out the best in each other?
No matter the genre, well-crafted relationships have the power to transform ordinary tropes into structured human lives. I talkin theRelationship:Romantic, Kindness, Parent-Child, Boss-Employee, Superhero-Housekeeper. All of them.
Character Relationship Brainstorming Questions:
- Who is the most influential person in your character's life?
- Who does your character fear and why?
- Does your character see a shadow of himself in another person? Is it someone they admire or someone who reminds them of their worst qualities?
- Who should your character protect?
- How does your personality relate to others? Are they seeking or avoiding connection? Will they dress up or let others show their true selves? Are you afraid of needing someone? Do they long to be needed?
- Who makes your character feel safe?
- Who makes your character feel understood?
- Consider a specific relationship:
- How did this person inspire or drive your character development?
- How do your characters feel when they are with this person?
- Does this person compensate for your weaknesses or character flaws?
- How do your characters feel about the world when they are with this person?
Relationship Ideas You Can Steal:
- they have a jealous mentor
- Actively try to fall in love with the best friend because it's convenient
- I just moved, no family, no idea who I am
- Rely on siblings for stability and guidance as you grow older
- When they are with their loved one, they feel their true selves
- You feel small and insignificant in the environment of the protagonist
- Desire for approval from a person of authority
- they begin to distrust their oldest friend
- The feeling that they have to help to be appreciated
you can imaginehungry gamesWhat if Katniss was just for wearing cool clothes? we will findIndigo MontoyaWould he be just as sympathetic if he followed Sixfingers because Sixfingers owed him money?
If motivation were not a factor, there would be no heated debate about whether it should be done.SnapesChildhood trauma and lifelong love for Lily redeemed him. (They don't. But these details doAgaingive it depth. )
Brainstorm questions about character motivations:
- What has your character vowed never to do?
- What does your character always promise?
- How do your characters imagine their lives when they dream?
- What is missing from your character's life right now?
- Is there something terribly wrong with your character that needs fixing?
- Was your character's childhood idyllic? If so, what aspects of your childhood would you like to carry with you into adulthood?
- Was your character's childhood painful? If so, how do they plan to fix this pain in adulthood?
- What is your character most afraid of?
- What does your character desire most?
- What does happiness mean to your character?
- What does your character want to avoid?
Character incentives you can steal:
- fear of abandonment
- Fear of losing one's identity in a relationship
- You feel more powerful when you manipulate others
- Fear of out-performing parents or counselors
- Want to build the perfect suburban life?
- they want to be bigger stars than their famous siblings
- vowed to avenge the death of a loved one
- I'm tired of living under an oppressive ruler
- they want to be appreciated by society
- you want to be free
even yoursHeldThey can be heroes. Perfect will cause your character to lose the story arc. Even minor characters are more interesting when they have some chaotic levels.
Make sure your character's flaws fit the story. It may be useful to consider their shortcomings and limitations. How do they contain their own personal shortcomings?
Character Flaw Brainstorming Questions:
- What perfectly reasonable thing does your character hate?
- Is your personality prone to jealousy?
- What is the stubborn side of your personality?
- What would your personality be like as a roommate?
- How is it conceivable that your character's history makes someone worse?
- What is the worst mistake your character could make in a story? What mistakes can you point out to them that make this mistake seem inevitable?
Character ideas you can steal:
- rude to children
- rude to the elderly
- everyone doubts
- talk about people
- Speak before you think
- poor impulse control
- they have a finger in the pie
- easy to control
- There are impossible standards
Check out our other ideas for thieves to findCharacter Flaws Essay.
Defining your characters' worldviews helps readers understand them better. Your decisions will make more sense and perhaps even more empathy. Or even more annoying! It's all up to you, clever puppeteer.
Just try to avoid putting too much philosophy into your dialogue, unless that's your character quirk. Most people just do what they do and say what they say without explaining themselves. Philosophy should only be practiced when someone asks for an explanation.
Brainstorm Character Philosophy Questions:
- What religious beliefs and values does your character have?
- What are the core beliefs and values of your character's culture?
- How does your character feel about money?
- How does your character view power?
- Does your character believe that people are inherently good or inherently evil?
- Has your character done something that you think was bad? How do you justify this action?
- What things does society consider good that your character considers bad?
Character ideas you can steal:
- See the worst of everything
- See the best in everything
- A new conspiracy theory every day
- Would you like to get back to nature and be fully self-sufficient?
- he is a strict pacifist
- you think money is bad
- The belief that money is the only thing that makes sense in the world
- The belief that a higher power can help them or give them answers
- they believe in ghosts
- Believe only in what can be observed
How to make your character feel real
Have you ever done something like this: You start telling someone the funny thing your friend said the other day, then rack your brains to remember which friend it was, only to realize it wasn't a friend? This is not human at all! It's just a series of words that your brain turns into memories.
You can achieve this magic if you know how to add life and breath to your character. How do you do that?
Combining the above character elements can help. Try the following tips to get to the next level:
steal from your life
Track your loved ones. FaceTime the stranger in the cafe with her child. See how you are. The more we observe real people, the more we learn about ourselves, the more familiar we become with the details that make our characters feel real.
I deal (carefully) with contradictions
Real people are complicated. You can hold conflicting beliefs at the same time. You canTippe ABe careless in one and the other. Let your character contradict you. But try to make sense of the contradictions.
please be clear
Your character can "like classical music" or can playBrahms' best workLet the music free you from your anxious life in your daily commute.
you see the difference When you translate a character's feelings, thoughts, desires, and fears into specific decisions or habits, you make them feel real.
Dive deep into the originals
Take a little trip insideArchetype charactertheEnneagram.
Researching a certain "type" of character can feel like a steppermissionFrom the human character design. But it's actually an important lesson in emotional intelligence. Each person has a set of fears, desires and experiences that naturally lead to their defining motivations, characteristics and values.
Research what works
You know the rule: If you want to write well, you must read avery. This also applies to character development. Make a list of all the characters that still seem real to you. Then go back and study them. Why do they work?
Master their voices
Do your characters speak in short, direct sentences or in slow, long, rambling sentences? Are they fluent, articulate or constantly fumbling for words? Which sentences are repeated often? Do they have nicknames for other characters?
Whether your characters are just speaking dialogue or are the narrator of a story, a little voice work can make them feel real to the reader.
Make your character a real boy
existscharacter artWith "David Corbett", David Corbett argues that he lets the character evolve throughout the process. As Corbett puts it:
"...we start with a raw material that interests us and work day and night, not only consciously and carefully, but also lovingly, until finally, like Pinocchio, through a strange paradox, this piece of material takes on a life form of its own of."
You don't have to worry about finding the perfect character idea from scratch. Find out what makes sense right now, put your resume on the page, and let the rest of the process be a process of discovery. If your character starts pulling you in a different direction, don't hesitate to follow. It means you created something real.
This means you are living your dream.
Want an easy way to keep track of the character ideas that come to mind? Check out the character annotation feature in Dabble! And by 'check it out' I mean 'free fortnight trial'. Just try all of Dabble's premium features for free:Click on this link.
- Works as a dog trainer but dreams of being a horse trainer.
- Retired from the priesthood.
- Spends every after-school hour writing fanfiction.
- Works a tollbooth and loves it.
- Dreams of opening a cat café
- Studies ballet to become a better football player.
- Just got into competitive bird watching.
- Start with a character archetype. ...
- Add specific characteristics. ...
- Build the backstory. ...
- Give them quirks, faults, and flaws. ...
- Give your character an arc. ...
- Add visual references. ...
- Organise & refine. ...
- Create the rest of your characters.
Close friends and family. The people closest to us are likely to give us some of the deepest and most nuanced character ideas, as we know these people the best. We see their different layers and perspectives, and how they can behave in different ways depending on the situation and their mood.What is an example of character development? ›
Good character development often includes the following elements: Backstory: Backstory refers to events that occurred prior to the story's plot, but which nonetheless affect the plot itself. For example, a common trope for character backstories is having a traumatic childhood.What are 4 qualities of a good character? ›
- Integrity. Integrity is a good catchword that is similar to character but provides us with a different way of looking at the ideas of character. ...
- Honesty. ...
- Loyalty. ...
- Self-sacrifice. ...
- Accountability. ...
- Be Humble. Humility is the beginning of wisdom. ...
- Live out your principles and values. ...
- Be intentional. ...
- Practice self discipline. ...
- Be accountable.
Look deeply and see what motivates your character. Use this as a source of motivation. You need to look beyond the script to achieve this state. The more you know why your character made an action, the more easily you can get into the mind of your character.How do you build a strong character? ›
Strong character is about making your own decisions.
Taking control of your life is an important part of developing character, so focus on making your own choices rather than letting other forces decide your fate. For instance, rather than waiting for your crush to ask you out, walk up to them and make the first move.
Great characters are driven by a deep-seated motivation and have a goal they are trying to reach. This creates interesting characters and also creates a story arc. The main character's driving force should be one of the first story elements you figure out, since the subsequent action will be driven by this motivation.How do you make your character quirky? ›
Beyond the physical appearance of the character, there are additional ways to make a character quirky through his or her speech and actions. For example, your character might: Mumble, speak in long-winded sentences, or have another unique speech pattern. Avoid eye contact.
It might be a camera, a needle and thread, a baseball glove, a salt shaker, a frying pan, a hair dryer, a favorite book–anything. Now, put that object in the hands of your character and write. Be sure to use lots of sensory details, what you see, hear, taste, touch, feel.How do you make a character look iconic? ›
- Employ consistent shape language. ...
- Strip your characters down to black. ...
- Flip the canvas while you draw. ...
- Add a unique element. ...
- Avoid tangents to create a sense of depth. ...
- Make each character unique, yet consistent.
What is a Well-Developed Character? A well-developed character needs a full backstory, personality traits reflective of it, realistic actions and emotions, along with being highly relatable to the average reader and as complex as a real person.What is a complex character? ›
A complex or dynamic character is a character who has many different characteristics and develops throughout the story. He or she may mature or change his or her mind about a particular character or event. He or she may learn a lesson or undergo some transformative experience.What is a well developed character called? ›
Round characters are fully-developed figures in the story. They are more realistic and complex and show a true depth of personality.What are some unique characters? ›
- Hercule Poirot. With his patent leather shoes, his pince-nez reading glasses and his turnip pocket watch – Hercule Poirot knows how to put the little grey cells to good use. ...
- Luna Lovegood. ...
- Bertie Wooster. ...
- The Little Prince. ...
- Anne Shirley. ...
- Louisa Clark. ...
- Dorian Gray. ...
- Count Dracula.
Unique Characters Are Unique to Their Core
Either the characters are meant to evoke those characters belonging to someone else, or they aren't.
- Unique eye or hair color.
- Extremely short or tall.
- Some discerning physical mark — birthmark, freckles, mole, or scar.
- Wears unusual glasses.
- Has braces and headgear.
- Large feet — may mean they're clumsy.
- Bites their nails/lips or chews on their hair.
- Constantly fidgeting and can't sit still.
- Be known as a promise-keeper. ...
- Be consistent in your dealings with others. ...
- Audit your decisions. ...
- Engage in tough conversations with empathy. ...
- Nurture meaningful relationships through good and challenging times They almost become disposable.