Ask AwayCategory: CharactersCreative characters
Sury asked 11 months ago
How do you make each character interesting and unique without keeping to the stereo-typical kind of characters eg. a typical teenager, typical principal etc.?

1 Answers
Riva Pomerantz Staff answered 11 months ago
This is a GREAT question, Sury! I actually just gave a mini-workshop on exactly this topic for the Jewish Women’s Writers Seminar. I’m gonna have to go with the VERY mini version because of the allotted space here, but bear in mind that I could probably talk about this topic for an entire DAY! 🙂
In a nutshell, I always try to make my characters as real as possible. That might sound like a “Duh!” statement, but it’s actually quite deep. We have a tendency to brand people as “typical”, but when you really get to know someone you begin to realize that NO ONE is typical. People are very complex and nuanced. They have interesting and often fascinating life stories. When you tap into the inner experiences of a real person and apply that to a character, you end up with a protagonist that is very relatable. None of my characters is especially “fascinating” per se. But the reason they are not “stereotypical” is because I try to flesh them out the way everyone around me is “fleshed out” :-). 
Wherever I go, I love to take in the people around me–the way they talk, move, fidget, laugh, relate. Oftentimes a person I have met, even if just briefly, will pop into my head when I’m planning a story and then, voila! A character is born–except that “character” is really based on a real, live individual who is (unknowingly) allowing me to borrow her persona for my book.
Hope this is helpful!