The 5 P’s For Creating Characters • Writing Progress

creating characters

I found this list of the 5 P’s to remember when creating characters on Pinterest and decided to write it out here as I think it’s very useful for anyone having trouble fleshing out characters.

Some of them overlap but I think there are a lot of good things to consider here that you may not have thought of before. I for one didn’t think twice about what kind of food my characters eat in the world I’ve created or what their voices sound like or their hobbies.

So many of these things seem unimportant while writing a book because you’re just so focused on getting it finished, but certainly during the editing process the following aspects are worth taking a look at to add dimension to characters that don’t jump off the page.

Unfortunately, I have no clue who actually created this list originally but here’s the link to where I found it! I hope it helps!

Physical: 

  • Age
  • Voice
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Height
  • Size
  • Health
  • Assets
  • Flaws
  • Sexuality
  • Gait

Psychological: 

  • Intelligence
  • Temperament
  • Happiness
  • Attitudes
  • Self-knowledge
  • Habits
  • Unconscious aspects

Personal: 

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Colleagues
  • Birthplace
  • Childhood
  • Education
  • Hobbies
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Lifestyle
  • Marital status
  • Religion
  • Profession
  • Possessions
  • Wealth

Personality: 

  • Wants
  • Hopes
  • Fears
  • Thoughts
  • Memories
  • Resentments
  • Dreams
  • Denial

Practices: 

  • Says
  • Wears
  • Eats
  • Buys
  • Works at
  • Plays at

As a reader, one of the biggest disappointments I face is reading about a character who is flat and boring. The plot itself can be riveting but if I don’t make a connection to the characters then that’s a big deal. Stories are about characters; through them a story pulls on your heartstrings or makes you grip the pages in anger. They make it seem real and they give the story heart, they make the reader care. 

You have to put as much effort into moulding the characters who will populate your story and bring it to life as you do the plot. Ultimately, a character that isn’t fully fleshed out can tank a story in the heart of a reader – it’s happened to us all and it’s what gets that 2/3 star rating on Goodreads when it could’ve been a 4 if the author just spent a little more time on character creation.

Think of your characters like real people, people with hopes and dreams and fears who have their own individual beliefs and experiences based on the environment they’re in. Once you think of your characters as real, even people you might be friends or enemies with, writing about them will feel much more natural.

What helps you create characters? Let me know in the comments!

One thought on “The 5 P’s For Creating Characters • Writing Progress

  1. What does happiness mean? I’ve been trying to figure this out for almost a year and I still don’t know what to put there for any of the characters I’ve developed using this technique.

    Like

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