A lot of my teaching focuses on characters (they are at the heart of my classes, they are, after all, our major tools as writers).

So how do you create them? Here’s some thoughts:
* Maybe base them on people you know but beware of the law. Don’t lift your local vicar wholesale and turn him/her into a cold-blooded killer! Make your characters composites of several people

*Describe their physical characteristics You can do it one bit or slot descriptions in as you go.   Describe their clothing etc but move beyond simple facts, try to capture their demeanour. How do they speak? Brusque, garrulous? How do they walk? Don’t overdo it, though, too much description slows down stories. I often think a line or two will suffice

* Visualise the person, think of small things which make them stand out

* Describe their views, their emotions, their thoughts

* Maybe come up with something that makes them different. A hobby, an odd phrase that they keep using

* If this is a major character get to know them particularly well. How do they react to things? Make sure they are strong enough to carry the story on their shoulders. And we must care about them - not necessarily like but care.

*Take care with minor characters as well as major, they’re important, not cardboard cut-outs.

Above all, ask yourself are your characters REAL?

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