Saturday, June 24, 2017

Developing Characters in Your Stories by Connie Vines

How do you go about developing your characters for a story?  

How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process ?  What inspires you?

Thank you Rhobin, once again, for a great writing topic.

I believe development of my characters has a great deal to do with the type of novel/story that I am writing at the time.  Obviously, my novellas, for lack of work count, are not superficial by any means, but my information is given via dialogue or internal thoughts with visual clues.  My romantic suspense will have a lesser degree of character development, unless it relates to  the 'suspense element' that say, my traditional romance novels.

However, I do write character sketches for all of my 'people'.  I may sprinkle the info in the story, or simply keep in in the back of my mind for character motivation.

  • I often use astrological signs to help develop my characters and create conflict.  Rodeo Romance, Book 1, (LYNX).  Lynx Maddox is a Leo and Rachel Scott is an Aquarius.  Opposites attract but they also create great romantic conflict.
  • Birth Order is another way to develop your character(s) actions and outlook on life. Pairing a 1st born woman with the 'baby' of the family or vise-a-versa, will create writing inspiration.  
  • Ethnic background is also to be considered.  If one character is from a large immigrate family is dating a person who is an only child (4th generation) with have all types of expected things popping into picture.
  • If I am writing a historical novel, I often make a composite of historical people/clues in diaries and letters (WHISPER UPON THE WATER)
  • At other times, with all of my careful planning, the writing process flips my character into a secondary character or he/she evolves and I go back and edit/change several scenes.
  • Also physical attributes/challenges.  We all have them.  Did those dimples work in her favor?  
What inspires me?  Life.  People's hopes and dream.  Honor. Justice.  And sometimes, just the need for a good laugh.

Happy Reading!

Connie Vines

Stop by and see what the rest of this months' Round Robin writers have to say.


  1. You have several methods working for your characters but I think your last line sums up the best method to work with characters.

  2. Hi Connie, I'm interested to read you use star signs to help find characteristics. I read my horoscope avidly when a teen, but don't so much now. I know many do though. anne stenhouse

  3. Very interesting, and your methods create great reads.

  4. Sounds like you use some of the same resources I do. Birth order suggests all kinds of interesting possibilities. I haven't used horoscopes yet but maybe I should consider it.

  5. I do use the birth order thing, since I believe in that as being more influential than horoscope. But I do have my astrological symbol tattooed on my left calf. Hey, I was in high school and college during the 70's, when the first pick-up line everyone used was, "What's your sign?" Grin.

  6. Hi Connie, I hadn't thought of using astrological signs. I might try that and it might be fun. Thanks for the tip.

  7. I have always found the birth order fascinating. The first time I read The Birth Order Book I was shocked to find that my youngest child fit the profile to a T. Now, if I could have read all that while he was in the womb, I might not have suffered so much angst while he was growing up. Thanks for the post, I like your other tips, too.

  8. Connie,
    You came up with some really good character idea from astrology to birth order. I am going to keep these in mind. Some really good stuff here. Anything to help in our quest for great characters definitely helps. Nice post.


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