Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

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By workshop member Kelly Schaub

I'm still a humble newbie to the workshop, but already I'm gaining insight and confidence by sharing with all the other writers. Like me, they have probably all been scribbling stories from their heads onto notebooks and computers since they learned to form letters with a pencil. I would like to share MHO about making believable characters.

I scribble quite a bit of fan fiction in my private notebook of story-bits. Has anyone else noticed how easy it is to write fan fiction? The world is created for us. The characters are already individuals with their own voices--again, all there for us to manipulate. All the fan-fic writer has to do is make up a plot that these characters in this world would be likely to fall into. Soooo easy, and lots of fun.

When creating our own worlds, and our own characters, how can we get to the same plane of skating through our story worrying only about plot? My way is to profile people I know well--my friends, my family, my coworkers. People I like and people I don't like. I then use these already individual people as my guides for my characters (not exact copies, mind you, but molds). I know what they would or wouldn't say in any situation, and that makes my characters more real when they have to interact with each other. Otherwise, all characters speak with my voice, which makes for pretty boring conversations.

Emotion of my characters can be more interesting if I use my friends and others as guides, also--I have a coworker who is the most fascinating combination of tough and sensitive. She has the most amazing willpower, and yet she is insecure about doing some things on her own. This is what I want to capture for my readers.