Keeping a Character Journal


I recently finished my WIP and am in the editing phase, and waiting for feedback from trusted Beta Readers. So, in the meantime, before the next brilliant idea comes to me, I’ve started a Character Journal. #writingideas

My first novel was born out of a character study I did about 25 years ago. I rode the bus with a man who was straight out of a novel, down to the gravelly voice, the silver hair, the grease under his finger nails and who wore the same red flannel work shirt every day. But it was his stories that were so fantastic to me. He had an over-developed sense of confidence and he spoke loud enough for everyone within earshot to hear. What choice did I have but to take notes? Little did I realize that he would find his way into my novel so many years later.

Characters are funny that way: writers can find them anywhere. Sometimes they’re born from an overheard conversation, sometimes it’s the woman at the table beside you in the coffee shop, sometimes it’s a stranger you pass on the street. And some of them spring from our imaginations. #nobodyisimmune

Most writers carry a small notebook with them for when an idea strikes. My best ideas usually come while I’m trying to go to sleep, so I keep a notebook beside the bed. I’ve even learned to write in the dark so as not to wake my husband.

There are many resources for character development on line. I also suggest checking out pinterest for actual pages that you can print out for character description, as a sort of launching pad to get your brain thinking.

I’ve just started my Character Journal. Some of the characters only have physical descriptions so far, but some have complex back stories including supporting characters. They are all different ages and from all different backgrounds.

It’s actually sort of liberating. #freewrite Since they are individual characters, I don’t have to make sure any one’s motivation matches another. No one character has to mesh with another. I’m hoping that will happen organically when I find the right match.

What kind of “journals” do you use to keep your muse active while you’re in between ideas? Have you ever kept a Character Journal?


3 thoughts on “Keeping a Character Journal

    • It’s very freeing. Especially if you write a particular genre, because the Character Journal doesn’t limit you at all, and it keeps the creativity going. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Keeping a Character Journal – The moving dragon writes

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