• Katie Knightley

Creating Character Personalities

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

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.

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 pantser and that means my characters aren't 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.

Which is your favorite?

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.

meyer briggs character personality
via Wikipedia

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.

love language character personality
via Pinterest

Harry Potter House

The almighty personality factor haha. It seems everyone knows their Harry Potter House, so why not figure out your characters' and base them on those personalities?

Here's the BuzzFeed version to take the test for yourself or your character.

Harry potter house character personality
via Pinterest

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