Making Characters Real

world-227747_1280_editLately I’ve been reading Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How to Create Out-of-This World Novels and Short Stories to help get my creative juices flowing.

There’s some useful information in there for anyone who is interested, sometimes to the point of completely taking the mystery out some books or shows.  Which, on the one hand, is helpful for the budding author, but on the other makes me feel like I’ve been totally oblivious in my watching / reading.

(Another link that does that to me is the Fantasy Name Generator – clearly a number of the authors I like use it.  I guess since I like playing with it, too, I must at least be on right track).

Back to the book.

One piece of advice was with regard to character building.  Now, one of my biggest concerns with my own writing is creating characters who are too one-dimensional, and therefore not “real” enough.  How do I make a multi-dimensional character, how do I make a real person?

The answer: Horoscopes.

Apparently, other authors have been known to use astrological charts to help develop their characters.  I have no idea why this didn’t immediately occur to me.  It’s not like I didn’t spend a lot of my teenage years vainly reading up on astrology (well – let’s be honest – compatibility…and, well into my twenties…anyway…).  And now I find it wasn’t a complete waste of time after all!?

Clearly, others have figured this out already.  But for me it was one of those fish-slap in the face moments – what you might call an epiphany in others…but since I felt really stupid for not figuring it out on my own, I’m going to stick with fish-slap.

Just goes to show you that everything you’ve ever read or done – no matter how silly – could actually provide the keys to a great story.

Happy Writing!

Photo Credit: geralt (modified) via (CC0 1.0)



2 thoughts on “Making Characters Real

  1. I’ve used horoscopes before (my main character is probably a Taurus), to the point that I’m considering doing a world-specific horoscope system. But any kind of personality test is helpful. I’ve put most of my characters through D&D alignment tests, Meyers-Briggs personality tests, the DSM IV and a bunch of other game-system profilers, all of which require you to ask yourself ‘how would my character react in a variety of situations? and why?’ Once you get to the point where you can answer such questions quickly and confidently, knowing exactly where the character is coming from in their reasoning, you have a real person on your hands.

    Liked by 1 person

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