Making Friends with Your Characters

Karla Locke
3 min readJan 13, 2024

Building Bonds Beyond the Pages

In the vibrant and imaginative realm of writing, authors often find themselves immersed in a unique process of befriending the characters they create. Just like making friends in the real world, forming a bond with your literary companions can significantly enhance the storytelling experience.

Writing is a deeply personal journey, and as authors, we often find ourselves immersed in the lives of the characters we create. While crafting a compelling plot is crucial, the true magic happens when you form genuine connections with the characters inhabiting your story. In this exploration, we unravel the art of making friends with your characters and how it transforms the storytelling process.

The Intimate Creation Process: It starts with the initial spark of inspiration, authors then slowly start to shape the personalities, quirks, and backgrounds of their characters. They evolve from mere concepts to fully-fleshed individuals.

Empathy and Understanding — Key Ingredients for Character Connection: The role of empathy forges a connections with characters. Empathy and a deep understanding of a characters’ motivations and emotions contributes to a more authentic portrayal. Putting ourselves in our characters’ shoes allows for a deeper understanding of their motivations, leading to more authentic and relatable portrayals.

Conversations Beyond the Dialogue: Characters are more than just their spoken words; they embody a spectrum of emotions and thoughts. An author must explore the significance of understanding the unspoken aspects of the characters, such as body language, internal conflicts, and the silent conversations that unfold within the narrative.

Facing Challenges Together: An author needs to acknowledge the challenges that characters encounter within the story and how facing these challenges alongside them deepens the author-character relationship. Overcoming obstacles together, portrays a sense of camaraderie between the creator and the created.

Letting Characters Lead. When Characters Have a Mind of Their Own: The beauty of allowing characters to take the lead, to deviate from the author’s initial plan, often guides the story into unexpected directions. There is often a joy of discovery when characters surprise the author with their choices, breathing life into the narrative organically. When there is an author-character relationship as a collaboration rather than a dictation, characters then contribute to the creative process, bringing their own perspectives and influencing the direction of the story.

Growth and Transformation: Characters, like real friends, undergo growth and transformation. Witnessing the evolution of a character throughout the story can be a profoundly moving experience, reflecting the growth not only within the narrative but within the author themselves.

The Bittersweet Farewell: It can often be emotional journey upon the conclusion of a story and saying goodbye to characters. The impact characters leave on authors can be strong, they often linger in our thoughts long after the final page is turned.

In the realm of storytelling, making friends with our characters is not just a creative process but a transformative journey. It’s about forging connections that extend beyond the pages, leaving an indelible mark on both the author and the narrative. As you embark on your writing adventure, remember that the friendships formed within your stories are timeless and enduring, creating a tapestry of characters that stay with you long after the ink has dried.

Author — Karla Locke
Author, Photographer, Creative Hopeful, Social Media, Story Teller

--

--

Karla Locke

My creative self needs an outlet, I do this with writing and photography and the occasional thought and opinion.