Now, let’s uncover your character!

Make your character come to life

We discuss character creation and how vital this phase is for story design. Getting into the Character by Brandlyin Collins is one of the best books to learn how to sketch your character.

First, ask questions

Rule number one when creating a brand new character:

  1. Ask questions directly to your character. Treat your characters as real people, and sit down with them to know them better.

I’ll tell you about a conversation with one of the last characters I created for a story I’m writing right now. First, I pictured him with the body and face of Alesana Tuilagi, a famous rugby player. That helped me visualize a tangible person standing before me, but it was like he was standing behind the curtains, and I could only see his traits through them.

“Hi, what’s your name?”


My character didn’t answer me back. To my surprise, I tried again to notice that my character didn’t have a mouth; hence, his voice was muffled. I got closer to the curtains and I felt it. A smell that only later I recognized as a snake smell and a voice that made me shiver. I asked my question again, this time trying to understand his answer. And the answer was as follow:

“My name is Lasghari, but no one has called me like that since I was 5. I mean, there are all dead.”

So, now I knew there was a giant creature with no proper mouth that hissed while speaking and smelled like a snake. Plus, I discovered my character was a brutal assassin since he probably killed his own family. Or, maybe, that was what I wanted the reader to think, looking at him for the first time.

“And now, how old are you? How can I call you?”

I didn’t dare to call him Lasghari. See, even though I knew I was speaking with an imaginary person, I had to feel it was natural to discover something interesting. The more we talked, the more I acknowledged in him the characteristics I saw before in people, mainly violent individuals I was unlucky enough to meet in the street. He slurred his speech, as he was drooling, the heavy breathing.

Then, I noticed a detail

His voice wasn’t just slurred and muffled because of his monstrous mouth; he had something else. I discovered again with surprise that my character was masked; a thick mask made of cement from crushed bones covered his face. I imagined him like an infernal baker, but he used crushed bones instead of flour.

Two hours later, a different character

We spoke for about two hours since I knew everything about him. Also, I thought about deleting him from my tale because he genuinely terrified me. His background story was so intense and horrific that I asked myself if that was too much. 

No, he was too powerful, and I didn’t just give him the privilege of being the co-protagonist with another character. He turned out to be the perfect alter ego, the best way to speak about my thoughts when I started writing the story. I wanted to talk about how violence begins in the first place, taking The Lucifer Effect by Zimbardo and mixing it with the recent thesis by Rutger Bregman and his optimistic history of humankind.

What a trip!

What a trip it was. When I finally let the two characters close to each other, even though a solid wall separated them, I heard the craziest stories. While they were speaking, I took notes, scribbling so fast that my hand was blue with ink by its end.

The second rule we’ll discover in another article is finding the values defining your fictional characters. That will be very challenging, so don’t blink, or you’ll miss it! Keep reading on our writing in pills section!

The importance of reading, graphic by Daniele Frau.
The importance of reading, graphic by Daniele Frau.

Reading is crucial because it improves the way you focus, your memory and your communication skills. Here at Flyingstories, we like to write free stories that can entertain you and help you learn Italian or English. You can change the website’s language any time you want, just by clicking on the flag. In this way, you can read stories for free in Italian and English.

Do you think you’re not ready for a long story like Go back to the future or Souls Alive? Please feel free to read our short stories in Italian and English!

This article is written by the storyteller and copywriter Daniele Frau.

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