Friday, August 26, 2022

How Do You Create Characters? Are you an Instinctive Writer or Not? By Connie Vines #RR, #Round Robin, #Creating Characters?



Round Robin August topic:   

How do you create your characters--their quirks, habits, values, and what part they will play in the story, etc.? Do you have a process, or do they come to you instinctively?

 Thank you, Rhobin, for this month's topic 📓💭👩

Over time, my writing process has evolved. When I first began writing, I published magazine articles, educational materials, and nonfiction. All relied heavily on research, hands-on, and often extensive on-site impressions (visiting a Reservation, historical archive, or site, speaking with those who lived the life, so to speak). This resulted in 3 - 5 years of research for my YA/MG novels.

I had also published in romantic fiction during this time. My first contemporary romance was published by Kensington/Zebra (under a pseudonym) 💎 Precious Gems imprint.

When I accepted a part-time position as an acquisitions editor 👩for an e-book publisher (during the infancy of this market) and a part-time job in public education 👦👧🏫🚌 I realized my writing had become instinctive. I no longer interviewed my characters. I simply knew them and heard snippets of dialogue in my head. Of course, plot/pacing/goals/conflict were left-brain skills and can never be ignored :-)

Quirks! I adore character quirks.

Now habits are often defined by the position held in life, the physical environment in which one is raised, and personal likes/dislikes. 

A rodeo bull rider's habits 🐴🐮 will differ significantly from a corporate executive's 🗽✈. Of course, there may be someone who grew up on a spread in Montana who had a burning desire to work on Wall Street...but what are the odds? 

But quirks are so much fun to discover. So unexpected.

💭Do these quirks come from the writer? Or the character of the story?

Likes and dislikes, I believe, come subconsciously from the author.

Do I have research to substantiate this assumption? No.

I do not like mint ice cream. To me, it tastes like toothpaste 😬 . However, when I was expecting my first child, I ate mint ice cream daily as part of my lunch. 🍨🍦 So, if my heroine was expecting, she might eat mint ice cream. 

I love coffee; my characters seem to love coffee ☕ and animals, too.  

Personality Quirks

high levels of enthusiasm

likes to be the center of attention

makes assumptions about others’ motives

tendency to react emotionally

tendency to respond objectively

tendency to take things personally

tenderhearted nature

tends to be argumentative just for the sake of arguing

Behavioral Quirks

always wants to sit facing the door

bites lip when thinking or trying to remember something

uses air quotes when talking

very distinctive laugh noises

whistles the tune to songs

Quirks Related to Eating and Drinking

always orders the same food in a restaurant

brings snacks everywhere

counts the number of chews before swallowing

drinks coffee or tea very frequently

eats while driving the car

Well, you get the picture.

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I erased the typo!

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Happy Reading,




  1. Enjoyed your post. If characters come from our mind and its perception of others, then writers must be very observant and imaginative.

  2. Quirks are definitely a must - they make our characters real, human and relatable - and sometimes unforgettable.

  3. "I no longer interviewed my characters. I simply knew them and heard snippets of dialogue in my head." Yes! Spot on.
    Do you ever have them follow you around and pester you to tell their story?

  4. Ah yes, those lovely "quirks" that define what the person is like, creating a flesh and blood (like) person from your imagination. That's where the habit of closely watching people at all times comes in handy, right? Interesting post.


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