Want to Create Unforgettable Characters? Learn How in Three Minutes:


Character Development for Writing Short Stories

  • There are many ways to develop your characters for stories of any length. How do you like to do it?

What an amazing face. I love it. I have a place for her in my work in progress. Off i go her name is Shelly-

If it is a lead character it should be one with integrity, one who is trustworthy, and one who behaves like we expect someone to with the characteristics we give them. Most main characters want something or have a major problem to solve so they should have a talent for solving problems or know people who do.

What did Don Quixote want? Fame? Romance? To be a hero? He set out to get what he wanted and that is his primary personality trait.

What did Harry Potter want? To survive? Harry didn’t have to set out to do so, he just had to have the trait. Some people collapse under that much pressure and others survive.

  • I write a character into a story then develop the personality traits as that story flows.

If I reuse a character in other stories, I add to her ‘profile’ and often adjust or go deeper into her personality as it becomes clearer in my mind who she really is. But all personalities have primary traits.

I think it’s best to stick with just a few primary traits early in the introduction of the character. For Shelly I went with: Strong common sense, very helpful, and very tough without showing it. That was it, to begin with. I could write a story about her or with her in it with just with those traits and let the story go where it wants to. I can add traits as it makes sense to. This way I never have to rewrite a character because the character has matched or blended in with the story.

  • Your character should change over time as one would develop normally.

In one story she may be younger and still dealing with parents and their many issues. In another she may be fully into adult hood and trying to raise her own children.

The way she deals with the same problems her parents had to becomes easier as you use the same character in each story. It is for me anyways.

I know how that character will react as I write the story because I know her.


  • To Sum this up Character Creation Should be Fun and Natural

To create unforgettable characters start with a few primary traits and let your imagination guide the addition of more traits as the story unfolds. If you don’t write your stories like this then you may need a different method. You may need to outline the full personality to match a pre-planned story. I’ll cover that method in another article.There is more than can be learned about creating unforgettable characters and we will go into them all eventually. You can create them with just this little bit of information.

When you add the character into the story give them just a few primary traits and guide their involvement in the story based on those. Make sure the actions or behavior of that  character match up with the traits you gave them.

Then let your wonderful imagination add to the character traits as your story unfolds.






12 Replies to “Want to Create Unforgettable Characters? Learn How in Three Minutes:”

  1. Since I was a boy in Middle School, I had always loved writing short stories for fun. But I never thought of doing it for a bit of money on the side – I love how you make creating a character so graspable. I hadn’t thought of starting the character with traits (it sounds simple), but I always just start writing! I guess that’s not as organized, so I’m excited to try your method! And by changing the characters traits (another thing I didn’t think of), I can see how it make them seem far more human. And I love your statement: “I know how that character will react… I know her.” Very powerful. Thanks for the inspiration! Do you think other characters should change traits too?

  2. Thank you for the kind words. I’m so glad you’re interested in writing again.
    I’m not really that organized myself. I also like to just start writing, but when I found out I was using the same basic characters over and over I decided to define the characters more.
    It has helped me to know them better.
    It might sound odd to someone who doesn’t write but I do feel that I know these characters almost as much as I know ‘real life’ people.
    Thanks again for stopping by.

  3. I have not written any short stories yet, but I have been to writer’s workshops on mystery writing for example. I like how you made the idea of character development so simple. I think a character’s name can give clues to their traits and personality. Am I right?
    How do you get photographs onto your website? I have not figured that out yet.

    1. Glad to meet another writer. Thank you for the kind words. In the site content window there is a place to add photos, it is a small square in the same line of commands that you find the options to make the text bold, italics, and the rest. It’s just a square box. you click the spot in the article where you want the photo and then click the little box and choose a picture or graphic. I hope that helps.

  4. Love the article!
    It brings me back to College when we were learning about script writing and how to develop the storyline and produce characters. Produce characters, makes me feel like how they make people in The Matrix, lol.
    Will definitely consider this article when building a character.

    1. thanks Santo. have you done anything more with your script writing skills? Yeah making characters is a little like the matrix. Writing short stories fills a new world with people we get to choose to make into what ever we want. It is one of my favorite parts to writing.

  5. Interesting post. while i’m not a fictional writer of any sort, this certainly does give me some ideas about describing the characters that i meet during travels for blog posts.
    thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks. You write a travel blog huh? Is that fun? I’ll go and look at it in the morning. it’s late here. Thank you for the comment. I hope you do wonderfully with your travel blog. Do you specialize in a certain area of the world?

  6. Hi Nafasia, This was a great lesson on creating unforgettable characters. Am just beginning blogging and think that this will help with the blogging and also when I do write a book one day. It had better be sooner than later, one doesn’t get any younger, unfortunately.
    Best wishes,

    1. Hello Jill. Thank you for the comment and kind words. I hope you do write your book soon. That is the main reason for my blog. I hope to encourage others to who like writing short stories or any stories. Age is just a number.

  7. I’ve been writing fiction for years and years now, and one of the hardest things is creating well rounded and believable characters. After all, without being able to relate to a character, the reader feels more like an observer rather than a part of the action.

    You break down the process pretty well here, without making sound like a difficult process, and probably it shouldn’t be.

    Interesting photo you have for your site header too, by the way.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Especially glad to hear from a writer. Yes that picture on the header is a take from a classic Hollywood movie ‘From Here to Eternity’ just a bit more risque I suppose. I do like writing short stories within in the erotica genre often so i thought it appropriate without being over the top.

      Character development used to be the biggest reason I was not producing stories. I needed something simple. I read about this system I use now so long ago I cannot remember how it came to me. it was from a few different sources. It fits the way I write.

      I like to sit down and just tell a story. I needed characters that i already knew to use in those stories. Thanks for the engagement.

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