Creating Character Personalities
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
You want a likeable and relateable MC. You also want all your characters to be different from each other, unique, and distinguishable when there's dialogue without tags.
Your character personalities will also depend on the different wants, needs, and lies they believe, as well as their status, life experiences, and upbringing.
To go along with Character Personalities, I also have a blog post for finding their voice.
How to Vary Your Character Personalities
I usually have vague ideas about my characters, like what they look and dress like, and their wants & goals, but I don't tend to fill out those character sheets. I'm a plantser and that means my characters aren't always fully fleshed out until I'm drafting. With my YA Contemporary book, I had my MC's personality picked out and she flipped it 180 degrees while I was drafting, and it was FANTASTIC. I love the changes she made.
But typically, I try to use the following tools to get ideas for my character personalities and to help keep them consistent throughout the story (while of course achieving their character arc ;)).
People You Know/Observe
When you're writing a personal experience it's easy to use people from your life. When you have characters that don't remind you of people you know, pull from famous people, or from people watching at coffee shops, work, school, or the mall. Jot down how they come across, their dress, mannerisms, dialogue, ticks, etc. Build a character around them. Pinterest is a great source for finding character images and building from that picture.
I feel like writers put a percentage of themselves into their characters, especially their main character, do you find this to be true?
Knowing what type they are helps me know how they'd react in certain situations, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The 5 Love Languages
Love languages are helpful to show your character personalities. I think someone can have a love language they like to give and a different one they like to receive, to show and feel love respectively. For example, if your character needs quality time to feel loved, you can show them happy when they get that one-on-one focused time, or feeling low and unwanted when their friend or partner is distracted and being inattentive. I put a snippet of this in my YA Contemporary book.
To take the test for yourself or as one of your characters, click here.
I absolutely love seeing what people create for enneagrams on Instagram, so if you ever need extra inspiration for how your character thinks and feels, go there. There are various quizzes out there as well that you can take for your character. Here's one link to take the quiz and read about the 9 types.
For more helpful tips, check out my YouTube Channel.
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