Answer Day – 2

More great questions received on the blog!

Dawn Young asks:

1. I’ve been trying to teach myself to be better at developing characters. Do you have any tips? Tricks? Resources you could recommend? I enjoy self-teaching myself how to do things, if I can just locate the right resouce(s) to get started :)

This is one of those questions for which there are hundreds of answers because I think every writer approaches character development in different ways. 

Just as no two novels write the same for me, no two characters show up in my head in the same way.  Sometimes a character is a lingering, soft echo in my mind that suddenly forms into a whole person with a story to tell.  Sometimes I have to really climb into a character’s “skin” and write several test scenes to figure out who they are and what they want (and just as importantly what they don’t want.) Sometimes I’m minding my own business and a character blasts into my story fully formed, and I’m just along for the ride as they reveal who they are.

But it is always, of course, the author’s job to figure out how to get all that on the page for the reader.

I recently wrote a post on the Deadline Dames about how to “spice up” a character who wasn’t working well as a protagonist, and other Dames (Jackie Kessler, Jenna Black, Lilith Saintcrow) have also addressed different approaches toward characterization.  Here’s a link for some of those, found under our “Writing Tips” category. 

There are many writing, writing organization, and author blogs filled with great advice.   A quick Google search will offer up bunches of ideas and approaches for developing characters. There are also numerous How To books and workshops out there covering characterization. Happily, resources are everywhere! 

Off the top of my head, here are a few blogs filled with articles you could check out:

Science Fiction Writers of America

The Writer Magazine

Writer’s Digest

Also happily, I don’t think there is one “right” way to develop characters, so exploring several different approaches until you find one that’s a good fit for you is definitely the way to go.

Tracy Erickson asks:

2. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Six sick slick slim sycamore saplings. He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Thoughtful Dog ponders the universe. And woodchucks.


  1. Dawn Young says

    Thanks, Devon, for the reference ideas! I’ll be checking those out after tucking in my tax deductions at night. *smile*

    My work recently sponsored another ‘wellness walking activity’. We can register with a Trail Name, rather than our own. I decided to use a name that I’m thinking about using in a book. While I’m walking/exercising, thought I would put myself in that character’s shoes, so to speak, and ask myself (the character) how I feel about different things, what are my motiviations, likes, dislikes, goals, habits, etc. Going to try that out, see how it works for me.

    Have a great weekend! Enjoy the sun *smile*

  2. Tina A. says

    Question: When writing, do you work on a regular computer with Word? If so, how do you avoid getting sucked into all that the Internet has to offer? (email, Facebook, etc.)

    Thanks! LOVE your work!

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