What a Character!

What a character

What a character

By Marcie Flinchum Atkins

In a recent post about character, we talked about what makes up a character in a story. But do you ever wonder how a character gets from your head to the page?
If you are able to create a character out of thin air, you are lucky. But if you need a little prompting, here is a great way to get started with a character. Your character has to have more than just a name and hair color. The reader of your story needs to know about your character’s passions, his/her personality, where he/she lives, and even what kind of problem your character has. A character HAS to have a problem for your story to be a story.

Character Graphic

This character chart can help you give your character depth. This chart is just a way to help you get started. There are an infinite number of possibilities for each of these categories. Don’t limit yourself to the ideas on the chart. They are examples. Feel free to go beyond the suggestions! (Click the chart for a larger view.)

Usually, the reason readers are drawn into a book is because they like the characters. Think about making your character really interesting (but not perfect) so that readers will WANT to read about them.


Another way to get an idea about your character is to create a character collage. Use old magazines or catalogs (ask a parent first, please), and cut out pictures of people or items that remind you of your character. Sometimes, you might find hair from one person, clothes from another, and things they might own from another. You can create a collage of things that bring your character to mind and put it in your journal, or by your computer, as you write.


How do you develop your character? Share your tips and techniques in the comment section below.

Marcie Flinchum Atkins headshotMarcie Flinchum Atkins writes in the wee hours of the morning (5:00 AM) and then goes off to school to teach fourth graders all day. Marcie writes picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, short stories, and poetry. She thinks the best way to learn how to write is to sit with a pile of good books and learn from the masters (the writers of those books). Marcie loves reading and writing kids’ books so much that she got two masters degrees in children’s literature. You can visit her YouTube channel where she creates videos for writing topics. Learn more about Marcie HERE.


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