On Characters & Voices

We here at Studies in Character are all characters, right? That means, more than anybody else, we should know how to write characters. (And if we didn’t, then we aren’t very good at our jobs, aka being fictitious people.)

So today, I present—well, you can see the post title above. Kalvias gets to write today’s post because Morgan said so and I agreed, and it’s all about characters! Okay, Kalvias, the audience is ready.

Ereinne, why do you get to introduce every single post?

[Because I’m the blog’s spokesperson.]

The… wait. Since when?

[Since nobody else took the job! So there. Now. Talk, Kalvias.]


Um, hi. I’m Kalvias, and…


Sheesh, Ereinne!

Okay, obviously, the first step to creating a unique character is to create a character.

How you do that is all up to you and your preference.

((An aside from Morgan:
I do it in five steps. The first step is to pick a “defining” character trait. Basically, if you were to describe the character with one word, it’d be that word. After that, flesh them out by figuring out their fear, secret, flaw, and quirk. That will give you a basic personality for you to work with.))


Ereinne, stop yelling at everybody!

Anyway, so once you have a personality, theoretically, you can start writing. Often, though, you’ll just write whatever, and the character won’t be at all like what you imagined. Sometimes, they’ll come out all cardboard like, although sometimes they’ll get a better personality than what you planned. (That’s what happened to me; Morgan wanted me to be overly arrogant, and I decided I didn’t like that idea much…)

So this is what you have to do.

Remember that defining word Morgan mentioned? When you write the character, focus on that word. Channel it. (Okay, I have no idea how to channel it or what that means, but that’s what Morgan says.)

See, the thing is, authors all have their own, unique, distinct personalities. And they know their own personalities best, so when they go to write, what comes most naturally to them is…themselves.

[Geez, Kalvias, way to make authors sound self-centered.]

(Oops. I don’t think authors are all self-centered, I promise! I like authors. And I have quite a lot in common with my author. Though that might be why…)

Anyway, so the thing is. Each character, when well-developed, has their own personality. So you have to remember that, when you write them.

Who are they? How would they respond to this?

Theoretically, if you ask each character the same question, they’ll all answer it differently.

(For example, to reference my own companion characters. To one question, Cimizelle’s answer would be something that she’d have read in a book, but is probably not at all what real life is like. Tiri would say something contrary just for the sake of being contrary. And Saelas would probably just shrug, and if you did get him to answer, it’d be rather thoughtful.)

[Hey! Me, contrary? Never.]

[You’re being contrary now, Tiri.]

[Thanks for pointing that out, Ereinne. I had no idea. Saelas, stop laughing at me!]

So now that we got that part, Morgan told me to say to expect things to be really different than you planned, or maybe even than you wanted. Even when you have a really developed character in your head, it will be different on paper.

Which makes sense, obviously. We’re all our own people, and we’re going to act like it!

[But please, just because they act kind of panicky about certain things doesn’t mean you have to decide halfway through that the character is going to have PTSD.]

[Cev, I’m pretty sure that’s how all author decisions are made. Because we act a way, and they have to make us stay in line.]

Well, okay. I wrote a post now. Ereinne, would you please get off my case about it now?

[Okay, fine.

[Ereinne, I’m pretty sure they already understood that.]


8 thoughts on “On Characters & Voices

  1. Hehe, yay! This post was lots of fun and I did learn a lot. I like the thing about channeling who the characters are because if I forget to do that they all end up sounding like myself. I’ve tried to develop my characters for Enhanced so hopefully they’ll actually “come alive” when I start writing them and be their own people…although that’s something I’ve always had trouble with. We’ll see, I guess.


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