I’ve noticed that most people who have a blog on writing have blogs on how to write certain aspects of a novel or story, such as, “how to write a strong female character,” “how to write a great hero,” or “how to write a fight scene.” And as a person who blogs on writing I wonder myself, why do I not also write on such topics?

Well, the answer is simple enough: I don’t really have that advice, and I am also afraid that in reading such articles my own characters will come out as  . . . superficial, or unoriginal . . . like they’ve been made from a kit out of a box rather than on my own. However, the same concern can be had by someone who is simply learning the rules on what makes structurally good writing, and that concern is not valid. Learning writing theory, so to speak, teaches perhaps the highest level of fluency in the language you speak. With all the structural details understood, there are endless possibilities with what can be done with it.

Back to writing novels in particular, though, there is plenty of theory to learn involving that. Characters have their own principles too. For example, none are black and white in real life, they have concrete motivations, they change or don’t change, they have flaws, they start off having a stereotypical role, etc. The question is, how does each character break their stereotype? I only first heard of these aspects and ideas from a free creative writing class (318R) by Brandon Sanderson that’s on YouTube that I watched two years ago. I highly recommend it!

Still, before jumping into a class on how to write characters, there is one type of learning how to write characters I think also works: Observe real people in your life.

What are your thoughts on learning how to make good characters?