Saturday, January 29, 2011

I see by your letter. . .

A writer's group I belong to recently started a discussion about characterization. How do you make your characters seem real? There were several excellent comments, especially from the published authors, but no one mentioned the form I personally use. I have my characters write me a letter.

A what? I hear you saying. Being of an age when letter writing was a fine art I resorted to that means to get to know the characters in my book. Those of you reading this that are writers won't be shocked at this method, others may decide I'm really crackers and they shouldn't be on this page. Hear me out.

With paper ready and pen in hand I begin to visualize the character I want to create. I ask them who they are, what they want me to know, and then I begin writing. I suppose psychics would term it automatic writing. I give it no such airs. Letting the words flow I begin to understand what makes these people unique. For instance, I had no idea the main character in my recent work was a reformed alcoholic. A minor character began his letter by saying, 'it's about time you got around to me.' I find him playing a larger role in the plot than previously allotted.

Just a suggestion - take it for what it's worth and happy writing!


  1. Very nice, Allene! I will try this method after I finish research career ;)

  2. I hadn't heard of this method before... but that is a really good idea! I may have to try this one out myself. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What an interesting concept, Allene. It's a great way to put you in the character's mindset.