Know your characters

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately to improve my writing and one thing that stands out to me is that you have to know your characters before you start writing.

I haven’t really done this much in the past (for my first book, Tamisan) and I think it lead me to “Writers’ Block” and total dead ends and just hours of not knowing what to write. It ends up being very frustrating. And a waste of a lot of time.

After reading posts on Live Write Thrive, which is a fantastic website by author, editor, and writing coach, CS Lakin, I started writing character sketches for the main characters in my first novel, Tamisan, by using her templates, and the difference it made was amazing.

I know a lot of people like to pants their way through things and “discover” their characters’ personalities as the story progresses, but besides it being harder to do, you end up with a character that is flat and one-dimensional at the start of the book, and someone who is more complex and three-dimensional by the end. Then how do you go back and make them more realistic and interesting afterwards? It’s not easy. And it takes longer to write your book.

For my short story, The Alien, which is up on, I took the time to delve into the characters more and I noticed how much easier things were. I knew their backstories and a bit about their likes and dislikes and even their attitudes. Lilliana is a bit of a smart aleck and it showed in my writing. Even something as simple as nicknames that they have for each other just flowed easily. It was the most natural thing in the world for one of the crew members to walk into the room and say, “Hey, Wildcat. Ready to get outta here?”

So, of course, with my work-in-progress, I have been spending the time to get to know my characters a lot more and I’ve even developed Character Development Sheets based on some that I downloaded from Live Write Thrive. (Ms Lakin has to take most of the credit – I just tweaked the one she made.) I’ve even created a World Building template based on a couple of websites that gave some great info on what should be included in your world building. So I’m all set.

Now that I’ve finished with those things, I’m back to writing. I can’t wait till it’s finished. I plan to keep you posted on my progress.

What do you think? Do you agree with what I’ve said? Let me know in the comments.


Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at

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