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How to develop characters, seeing things through new eyes

by | Apr 14, 2013 | Tips For Writers | 2 comments

The world looks so brand new to me now that I found love. – Musiq Soulchild

At some point or another we’ve all experienced seeing things through new eyes.

Maybe it was an aha moment. Or a new pair of glasses that revealed something minute that previously went unnoticed. Or you saw a child playing and for a second remembered the naivety of your youth. Remember how the world seemed brand new once you discovered you were in love?

Or maybe a friend called seeking advice and said, “Put yourself in my shoes.”

Think about how that relates to you as a writer. It might not be writers block you’re experiencing, but maybe you’ve run out of ideas for characters. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things through new eyes.

Your characters don’t need to have your personality traits or have the same background or morals as you. Try something new! Write from the perspective of characteristics you dislike in a person. Write through the eyes of someone you would never dare be. After all that’s what makes writing fun.

How do you develop your characters? Do your characters have your personality traits? Please share your comments below.

Stefanie Newell is a freelance writer based in Chicago and author of the novel The Buzz: When celebrity gossip goes wrong… She is also the CEO of Write One Publications, Inc.


  1. danielsenyard

    Trying to step back and outside of ourselves is essential but I think that if we are honest, truly writing from another's perspective is close to impossible. As humans we seek out and recognize an essential bit of ourselves in others and this perceived commonality is where characters start from. They are born of our similarities, not by our differences.

    Only once we feel we can relate to and partially understand another, can the character's assumed idiosyncrasies branch out. This common starting point makes it difficult to have a fully-realized character, completely separate from ourselves.

  2. writeonepub

    You make an interesting point Daniel.

    I recognize that we generally start from our similarities, but what happens when you have fully explored all of the characteristics that are similar to your own? Then where do you go?

    The point is not to abandon the similarities but instead to also embrace the differences.

    Thanks for your insight. I look forward to reading your opinion on future topics.