Creative Writing Tips in Character Development

Everyone loves a good story. As readers, people want entertainment through emotion. Whether it is through laughter or tears, walking on the sunny shores of the beach, or relaxing in front of a cozy fire in the woods; regardless if we are a couple, or if alone. The character in the story introduces us as readers to a life beyond our imagination. We get taken through new experiences, living our dreams and fantasies on pages of ink in times past and through years to come. These stories help complete those parts in our lives that somehow seem familiar to us, yet have never occurred.

Now the goal of the writer seems quite different from the outcome. The writer takes the opportunity to choose a subject, and to express his or her thoughts on the matter. The frame of mind is of one person expressing one’s deepest sentiments to unite the teacher and student with a similar understanding and passion about that subject. Creative writing forms a bond of emotion between an author and a reader, one that keeps the reader coming back time and again.

            Most forms of writing has had some sort of format, or style used over centuries now. Maybe it could be verse, or prose; however, it is not dependent upon its genre. There wasn’t one form used. With the digital era, multiple versions of office, word and blog forms have developed. I have used multiple forms, and I have a blog entitled “from the park bench”. Most of my inspiration is found in natural environments such as parks and meadows. I love the sound of nature, the lakes surrounded by ducks, the trails for walkers and bikers alike. This is a place where the morning sounds of the environment waking up, invites you to appreciate this truly beautiful place. This is an excellent starting point for any creative writer. Find a place that inspires you. The world around you is full of “prompts” for your writing. Your surroundings can help you relax and to free your mind to become engaged in topics, words and phrases to further your writing.

            Other than being a park walker and a park writer, I am most of all a park listener. Many of the park people have become characters in my writing. I have learned to use their conversations, including their words, their dialect, the way they speak using slang, their body language, the way they move and walk – their “swagger.” All of the things that define a person in life, these same effects create a character in writing. This character can walk through the park in front of me on a Monday morning, and my mind sees them walk through a Farmer’s Market smelling the peaches on a Monday afternoon. The dialogue between people in a relaxed setting is most entertaining. Depending on the relationship, just the back and forth banter can have you wishing you had a paper and pen tucked in your pocket. Most walkers at the park either have a partner, or a set of headphones. For me, it is all about the person in front of me, the next character who will travel the world, yet never leave the park.

The most important thing about creative writing is understanding you can bring such life into a character. The influence this character has in the lives of your readers can effectively create an emotional connection that touches their heart so much, that should tragedy befall your character, the reader experiences a sense of loss or grief. In turn, if something jubilant occurs the reader experiences elation along with the character. That is creative writing and characterization at its best.

I remember walking behind a couple of women one morning at the park. One was talking about her husband and herself having went to New York to visit her daughter for the holidays. Her daughter travels all over the world, and she was so glad to go see her. Her daughter showed her photographs of the places she had been. “It was so exciting!” she had exclaimed. The women walking with her remarked about her husband had some health issues, so their son had to come and see them. They never traveled much to begin with, but now, she did not think she would leave the state before her time came. I just smiled, when I walked past, as she was the perfect character for my next short story, and I was thinking, “Oh, yes! You will go!” “Yes, ma’am, the places you will go.” I even cut my walk a little short that day. I could not wait to get her on her way.

             Published On December 19, 2013, for The Word, Guest Blog.


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