Someone asked me today to give her tips about character development. The thing is, there’s no easy answer to that question. Every writer has his/her own way of developing characters.

For me, it takes a while for the characters to set up housekeeping in my mind. Then, once they get comfortable, they become very noisy and intrusive, constantly nagging me to get their story down on paper.

For example, yesterday, as I played tennis, the characters’ voices experimented with descriptions in my head. “How about this?!” one shouts. “Carrie’s eyes filled up with tears.”

“No, no, no,” corrects another. “Carrie isn’t the type to cry. Maybe say…’her eyes glistened’. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Go with that.”

Besides being loud, these mental houseguests can get demanding, too.

“What are you thinking? Having me eat banana pancakes for breakfast?” complains one character to me. “You know I’m allergic to gluten!”

Well, I didn’t know. But now I do.

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