Tag Archives | Protagonists

Active Characters

There’s a lot of discussion in the writing world right now about Strong Female Characters. (A few great PubCrawl posts on this subject include this one from Erin and this one from JJ.) These discussions have started me thinking about Strong Characters in general, regardless of gender, age, or abilities. I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of strength and wondering what attributes define a strong character. Please excuse this sweeping generalization, but I […]


Your Character is Lying

In my own process, I have character development tools that I use before I start to draft. What is my character’s age, history, family life? Where does she live? How intelligent is he? Was she educated in school, or did she learn through experience? There are many fantastic worksheets and story creation tools available, and I use several to begin to form my characters in my mind. I have a separate process for characterization after […]



I used to do a lot of acting. I went to an arts high school, my major being drama. Acting isn’t a very big part of my life anymore, but the things I learned in drama class were a massive influence on my development as a writer. Writing is similar to acting, in that you have to connect to the characters you’re creating and that usually involves putting yourself in their shoes. This can be […]


Creating Characters Readers Care About

We all want to write vibrant, lively, realistic characters that leap to life from the page. We want our characters well-rounded and interesting. We want our characters to each have their own “voice.” In pursuit of this worthy goal of creating a realistic character, we write lengthy character histories, we write journal entries from the point of view of our character, and we fill in character worksheets. Yet sometimes we do all of these things—we […]


Tips for Creating an Ensemble Cast of Characters

One of my favorite movies is The Breakfast Club, John Hughes’s 1980s classic that imagines a day in the life of five students from various cliques within an American high school who are forced to spend a Saturday suffering through detention together.  The film’s message centers on the superficial differences between the characters, and how those differences mask the fact that the kids have more in common than they think. The film succeeds because it […]