Characters are the people you have met. I met Azula…in real life.

My life changed one day when I watched the TEDtalk, How to Write a Novel in 20 Minutes. 

Besides all the great things Simon Van Booy said, I took note of one thing: make characters based on people you’ve met. 

They can be fictional or not. Here’s an example.

The one real life person I met and based one of my characters on, was a co-worker I hated at my first job after high school. Do you know Azula from  Avatar: The Last Airbender ? Well, I dealt with the black version of her for four years.

I know you guys are asking – why did you write about her then? 

You’d understand if you were me. Though me and this girl did not click, I found myself noticing her bored but calculating look anytime she stared off into space. The way she spoke seemed so out of character, that my suspicions were confirmed when a customer told her she sounded like Olivia Pope from Scandal.  This girl also knew how to straighten up kids anytime they tried messing around in the store, and had a strange sly expression about her face anytime she threw shade. She had brimming confidence oozing out anytime she blinked and she could charm anyone with her conversational skills.

As a writer, you can’t help but write about people who make a certain impact on you.

When it comes to characters, quietly cast people.

Since 2012, the cast of characters I had in my mind developed slowly the more I met people, saw fictional characters, as well as looked up historical idols and celebrities.

  1. References are a must. Look up any person when it comes to developing characters. I had a character who I wanted to be a dictator. I did not know real life dictators, but I definitely looked them up on Google.
  2. I start with background information with character. Characters are the first things you develop when it comes to story. They dictate what happen.
  3. By the time you’re done with their background information, you should have a story plot structure forming.
  4. Finish your plot structure of the story. Have a clear path of what will happen in the story and the role your characters will play.
  5. When you no longer feel the need to change character information, get a profile sheet done for them.
  6. Continue focusing on story and make changes when you need to.

I did not do alot of work today because I was out the whole day running errands. For now, I’m just doing minor changes before I get ready for the night.

Novel Diaries – Day 8 – Lessons Learned:

  • Everything looks crazy, but since you’re crazy too. You’ll fix it.
  • Characters form whenever they want, with or without your permission.
  • Characters can also be based on more than one person.

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