A successful story revolves around believable characters. Plot is important, but it’s the characters we think about and miss when we finish a good book.

After writing non-fiction for decades, my wild side took over last month and I accepted an inner dare from my muse to try writing fiction. I joined the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) community and used the month of November to get my feet wet in the art of novel writing.

When I got to a transition point in the plot, I realized I didn’t know enough about my main character and hardly anything at all about the man she was about to marry. So I stopped writing and began studying and thinking and imagining. I needed to answer the question, “Who are you?” for each of my characters.

Who are my characters?

“You can never know enough about your characters.” —W. Somerset Maugham

Photo by The British Library

I realized I couldn’t create believable characters on the run, so to speak. That means I’m probably not a “pantser” (those who write by the seat of their pants). So I created the characters with a slow cook method. Writing and cooking do not appear to be related cousins, but in my mind they come from the same lineage. I’ve marinated my characters for several weeks. I’m sure writers the world over have done this for centuries, but the process is new to me and wonder-making. They’re going to be delicious!

Making believable characters

Beside the interview process I’ve researched in several books and online sources, I found the following link for using the Enneagram something I’ve been thinking would be helpful to me as I create more depth in several characters.

They’re calling, my Italian soon-to-be believable characters. Gotta go fill in the blanks of their lives. Happy writing to all my writer friends. Arrivederci!

Check out my award-winning memoir.