The Joy of Creating Characters

Jean Lauzier loves to play in all the different genres, but especially  mystery and fantasy.

She is a member of several writer’s groups and  president of the East Texas Writer’s Association. When not writing,
she enjoys reading, trying to grow bonsai trees, training dogs,  editing, and mentoring other writers.

“Fictional characters are made of words, not flesh; they do not have free will, they do not exercise volition. They are easily born, and as easily killed off.” ― John Banville

I’m not sure who John Banville is, but I have to disagree. At least for myself. I have one of those obsessive personalities and when I’m writing, I live and breathe my characters. I think about their likes and dislikes, how their past affects their present, and just what they want out of life.

Sometimes, I even forget they aren’t real. For example, one day while in the middle of a writing session, a song came on the radio and I realized Cande would have listened to and liked that song. Now, Cande is a character in a mystery novel I’m editing, but we’re also best friends. I know about the time she tried to paint her pony black because she wanted to go as the headless horseman for Halloween. I know how she defends those being bullied, her soft spot for animals, and how much she loves settling in front of a fire with a cup of hot cocoa. She’s a person I’d really like to hang out with.

I also know that as her writer, I can’t get her to do something against her nature. At the end of the novel, I really wanted her to take justice in her own hands and off the bad guy. But that’s not her. Yes, she’s an emotional wreck because of what she thinks he has done, but she believes in doing the right thing, even when it’s hard. And that is one of the things I love about her.

Another thing I love is when a character just appears and refuses to disappear. While writing Dragons of Jade, I was typing along in the groove, and a dog appeared in a scene. I didn’t want a dog in the book so backspaced and deleted him. A few sentences later, my character opened the door and in bounded the dog. He had a name, a personality, and I knew exactly what he looked like. I thought about deleting him again but just couldn’t. Turns out, he was an important part of the story.

Some authors seem to have no problem killing their characters. I read the Game of Thrones series and every time I became attached to a character, they turned up dead. I’d be a blubbering puddle of tears if I killed off as many characters as he has.

Once I read we need to get our characters up trees and then throw rocks at them while setting the tree on fire. I have a hard time doing that, especially with characters I love. I want things to go right for them. I want them to succeed and be happy. It’s something my editor says I need to work on. And, I am trying.

Creating characters is one of the fun things about being a writer. I learn about their jobs, their culture, and just what makes them tick. Then, we hang out in front of the fireplace sipping hot cocoa and telling stories.

You can find more about Jean on  her Facebook page –

All her  books are available on Amazon or can be ordered from any bookstore.




8 thoughts on “The Joy of Creating Characters

  1. Oh, my a kindred spirit writer! How right you are. I live and breath my characters and sometimes they do jump into the story from ‘who know where’, and take over. In my first book about a divorcee who was going to stumble into solving her father’s murder, out jumped the cat…who took over the story and it ultimately became a three book Black CAt mysteries series. I’m working on book four now and Black Cat is as snarky and funny as he was on page one about 900 pages ago in the first book, Black Cat’s Legacy! Who knew?
    Best wishes always with your books. They sound like something right up my alley.

  2. I love my characters also and do create all kinds of problems for them, but I know they are up to solving any dilemma I present to them. Also they have plenty of friends and family to help them out. As you say, characters cannot be simply tossed away. You wouldn’t do that with a good friend, would you?

    • Exactly! You don’t just toss out your friends. And after spending months if not years with them, they truly are friends.

      And it is hard torturing them but they become better for it. And it makes the story better too. 🙂

  3. Fictional characters are real, as real as my imagination can make them. Even when the end is written to a story, I continue to wonder how their lives aregoing ‘off the page.’

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