Creating fictional characters - Nikki Young Writes

Creating Fictional Characters

Writing inspiration can come from many sources, whether it’s through music, images, or newspaper articles.

It can also come from the most unlikely of sources and when my son came home with this painting he had created at school, I immediately fell in love with this character:


Believe it or not, this is a self-portrait, although I must add, that as cute as the little dude is, he looks nothing like my son! He is cute though isn’t he? And I can picture him as the star of a story or even an animation.

If you find an image like this or create a character in your mind, you need to bring them to life. They need, not only a name, but a whole backstory and in order to make them real, it’s important to consider the little things that make the difference – pet hates, strengths and weaknesses, any quirky little things they might say or do or even a party trick that they might have up their sleeve. You can have so much fun creating new characters this way. Not only do you give them an address, a family, medical history and hobbies, you bring them to life.

By doing this, you begin to see how they might fit in to a story – creativity sparks creativity and all that – and before you know it, you have a story that you can’t wait to get down on paper.

At the moment, this little guy is still at the nameless stage, as I’m too busy with other projects to devote any time to him. He looks at me from his position on the fridge door, never failing to make me smile and it’s almost as though he is reminding me not to forget about him.

I won’t do that though, I promise…

Sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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Comments (0)

  1. Mummy Tries 24th March 2015 at 10:02 am

    This is just fab Nikki. I really want to crack on with my novel, but just can’t seem to get started…what I need to do is this. Create my characters first before I start putting pen to paper as it were. Love it! #whatimwriting

  2. maddy@writingbubble 24th March 2015 at 11:43 am

    Oh I love him – there’s such character in that face, I’m not surprised he’s inspired you! I love the idea of bringing characters to life before you start writing a story. Hope this little dude gets written soon as I’d love to find out more. thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting x

    • Nicola Young 25th March 2015 at 12:20 pm

      Sometimes a story can start with an idea and another time it can start with a character. In this case, I need to build the story around this little guy. I just don’t know what yet though.

  3. Emily Organ 24th March 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Such a cute picture! He must make you smile whenever you look at him. I think it’s a great exercise to come up with character traits and once you’ve started, as you say, you find more ideas flow.

  4. Sara (@mumturnedmom) 24th March 2015 at 5:18 pm

    He is definitely a character! I think I need to try this with some of the characters I’ve been writing flash fiction about, they are all still a bit nebulous 🙂

  5. redpeffer 24th March 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Oh, I love him and yes he is totally calling out to feature in something!

  6. Aimee 24th March 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Oh I love this! Great post! Sometimes, after i’ve written an overview, and started writing I go off and write a few bits about each of the main characters like “likes gin, can whine, but wicked sense of humour” “always late, patient, laid back”.

    I also have started seeing my characters as certain actors/actresses which then obviously sends me into a little dream world 😉

    • Nicola Young 25th March 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks, I think there’s nothing wrong with imagining them in that sense. It helps you write sometimes as well, when you picture each scene as though it was being played out in a movie.

  7. sophieblovett 25th March 2015 at 9:16 am

    You’re right that it’s so important to spend some time on developing rounded characters before thrusting them into the world of your novel. When I was teaching I used to get kids to complete detailed character profiles before any major piece of fiction writing. They didn’t see the point at first, but soon found out how much fun it could be! X

  8. Morgan Prince 25th March 2015 at 1:42 pm

    What a cute guy! It is fun coming up with new characters and giving them a world to live in. I think that’s the most fun part of writing. xx

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