Something that has always interested me is characterisation.

When I write fiction I always start with the character. I decide who my protagonist is going to be and what interesting character traits that could have. For me, character comes before plot. I always do a character questionnaire that I have devised to get all my ideas down on paper before I forget them. The questionnaire is designed to make me think more deeply about my characters. I use it in my creative writing workshops.

I am very aware that in a children’s book the protagonist needs to be a child. but, not any old child – it needs to be a child who is pro-active, brave and can use their initiative. This is true of all fiction. The characters can’t just sit there and expect other people to sort out their problems.


I have learnt over the years to trickle information about character into my writing rather than write blocks of character description. Andrew Melrose, the senior lecturer at King Alfred’s University in Winchester, once said in a workshop at a SCBWI Conference in Winchester, many years ago:

“Make your characters whole, make them real, make them people. Leak the clues deliberately and at a good pace. Let them evolve.” Andrew Melrose

I like this quote it is written in a few of my notebooks so I come across it regularly. I have always tried to follow this advice. However, I have also found that sometimes you need to state the obvious, as it is not always obvious to the reader. When you get to know your characters it is easy to forget that everyone else does not know as much as you do.

1 thought on “Characterisation

  1. Pingback: Planning a novel | Anita Loughrey Blog

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