Rachel Thompson

Ben Woodard's #WriteTip On How to Make Your Characters Believable @benswoodard #amwriting

How to Make Your Characters Believable

I think to make your characters believable you have to believe in them. They have to come alive in your mind. So that you can see them, hear the way they talk, and smell their scruffy clothes. There are plenty of techniques to do this—you could write down everything you know about your character. His likes, dislikes, fears, hatreds, loves, personality type, and more. These are excellent ways of learning about your character, and are a great way to flesh out the details, but I think that the first step is to see the character in your mind’s eye.

Once when my wife and I were taking a trip and she was driving to let me work on a story, I read the portion of what I had written to her. In the process of reading, I got choked up at what was happening to the character. She looked at me in disbelief and said, “You’re acting like the character is real.” And my response was, “He is, to me.”

I could feel his pain and his anguish at what I, the author, was putting him through. And I gave the character free reign to lead me into the story. Often the characters behave in a way I don’t expect, but I have learned to let them tell the story, not me. I believe only someone who has written a book of fiction can possibly understand an author feeling this way.

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Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
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