Learn How to Write Great Characters (and Learn How to be Great in the Process)

How does your character feel about snakes?

How does your character feel about snakes?

When you think about your friends and family what pops into your mind?

Is it their clothes? Their job? Their abs?

Or is it the thousands of hours you’ve spent together where they’ve gone out of their way for you… or didn’t.

For me, people are defined by four things:

1. How they treat other people.

2. Their dreams and passions.

3. Their environment (people, places, & things that surround them.)

4. Their career.

You may disagree with my order here, but it’s an important lesson to learn how other people see you. To learn how to define yourself. First and foremost, it’s how you treat others. I think that’s pretty hard to argue, yet we spend an awful lot of time trying to define ourselves with the latter two. As a professional writer, treating people with respect and love should be a higher priority for you than to be a great writer.

Now, apply that to the characters you write.

How often do we try to define our characters using career or environment? Those are just facts, paper definitions. They don’t tell you anything about a person.

Instead, write characters that are defined by their decisions, by the way they treat others, by what they do when faced with adversity. This is how we get unique, well-defined characters.

[This is a slightly tweaked version of a post from November 2, 2011]

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4 comments
  1. Victor De Leon said:

    That was a very thoughtful, post, Hudson. I think I’ll be taking much away from it. I never thought of creating and writing my characters based on those unique factors you mentioned. Thanks for the tip. Good job. Much appreciated!

    • Thanks Victor. Glad you could gleam something from it. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  2. This kind of basic advice is always so appreciate it. Looking at people in a fundamental way helps us to see our characters in a fundamental way. And having that clear concept will make the character feel more authentic to an audience.

    Thanks much for sharing!

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