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Character building exercises

Updated: May 5, 2023

When it comes to writing, your characters play such a massive part in the quality of your story. Getting to know your characters is essential and building them is the first step, so here are some ways that can help you get to know them...

Character profiles This a great technique if you're in the beginning stages. Creating character profiles for each one of your characters is a good way to start building up your story. A character profile can be as detailed as you'd like, for example you could write them out in bullet points or full sentences. Write about their appearance, favourite food, colour, what job they do (if applicable) and more. Draw them This is a good idea if this is something you would enjoy doing or if you feel like you might connect better with a more visual process. For me personally, no! But I've heard of good results from other writers, so this may be something that works for you. This may also be a good way to combat any consistency issues when it comes to the appearance of your characters. View their perspective Write from their perspective, a typical day in their life. From the moment they wake up to when they go to sleep. Consider perspective here, you could write this in third person or first person in more of a diary writing form. This daily routine doesn't need to have a significance to your story, but it's a great way to build up a basic foundation. Sims This is more of a niche technique, but if you like playing Sims, create your characters on there. Again, this gives you a more visual look at them but playing their life for a little while may help you get a better understanding of their normal routine.

Timelines This is a good idea if you're working with both the past and present of your character's life. Draw out a timeline for your character and fill in as much as you can. This way you can compare it to the timeline of your book too. Again, this may help with tackling any consistency issues in your writing. Dialogue between characters This is a good technique once you already have your characters ready. Writing dialogue is a great writing exercise within itself, however bringing your own characters in will help you get to know them and their relationships even more. Again, this doesn't have to have any relevance to your story but can help you gain a better understanding. The way your characters interact with others is a huge indication to what kind of person they are. These exercises are for you as the writer to develop your characters, therefore it's important to find something that works for you. Don't worry about what others will think of it, because you don't need to show anyone. Like I said you may benefit more from a visual exercise, if not something more logical like a character profile could work too.


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