How to Create Characters for Your Mystery Novel | Julia Gousseva | Skillshare

How to Create Characters for Your Mystery Novel

Julia Gousseva, Writer, Creative Writing Teacher

How to Create Characters for Your Mystery Novel

Julia Gousseva, Writer, Creative Writing Teacher

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5 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Where to Start

    • 3. Character Development Questions

    • 4. A Few More Thoughts

    • 5. You're in Charge!

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About This Class

If you want to develop exciting, believable and well-rounded characters for your mystery novel, watch this short class and learn specific techniques and approaches to create villains, sleuths, and victims your readers will love reading about.

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Julia Gousseva

Writer, Creative Writing Teacher


Julia Gousseva

Writer, Creative Writing Teacher

How to Write an Original Short Story

Have you always wanted to write fiction but don’t know where to start? Have you started writing but got stuck and don’t know how to finish? Do you have ideas but find it hard to develop them into a complete story that makes sense? Or do you experience writer's block, get stuck, and lose motivation?

If you have experienced any of these problems or if you simply want a clear and specific way to develop your idea into a story, you’re in the right place.
This course will present an approach to writing stories that I have developed over a number of years and refined with my students in face-to-face classes.

This approach is a step... See full profile

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1. Introduction: how to create characters for your mystery novel in this class will talk about waste to develop exciting characters that can participate in an exciting plot in your mystery novel . Both plot and characters are important, but in the mystery novel, characters can become even more important than the plot itself. What kind of characters your sleuth, your villain and your victim are the three most important characters in any mystery novel, and we'll talk about ways to develop them into believable, well rounded characters that your readers will care about. Why is that important? Because if your readers care about your characters, they will care about your plot as well. 2. Where to Start: many of my students when they start writing their stories and specifically when they start writing mysteries often ask me, What should I start with? Should I start with plot, or should I start with character? And the way they phrase the question makes me think that they are considering these two issues. The plot and character is mutually exclusive, but that's not true. Let's take a look. You can do a little bit of both. Start with your needs. If you're thinking about the specific plot, and you should have some idea what you're trying to write, think about voters your blood require. Maybe you need the person who is scared of heights or somebody who knows the Morse code or somebody who can fly planes. So then the plot is going to define certain features of certain characters, right, so you can start with that. But that's not the only way. You can also think about some interesting psychology and specifically to questions. What kind of a person fascinates or horrifies you, and you could use that knowledge and you can use that fascination or that horror that you experience to develop one of your characters or all of your characters also think about. Have you had a strong emotional reaction to somebody's appearance? If you have, maybe you can use that in creating one of your characters or again all of them. Start with observations. When you look at people when the observed people in your life think about vote, do these people's words or gestures or the way they're dressed or certain features tell you about that person. And you can, of course, use your imagination, doesn't have to be true. And then see if you can combine that observation of a person with your imagination with that. Imagine their interpretation and use that to create your characters. And most importantly, remember that there's no such thing as a typical person. We're not typical. We're all unique, and we're all different. So when you create your characters, when you describe them, make sure to use specific details and create well rounded characters in how to do that. We're gonna talk about it next 3. Character Development Questions: in this section will talk about questions that you should consider when you're developing any of your major characters. We'll start with vital statistics. The basic information about the character name, age, place of birth education, current residents, state of health, things like that. Ah, that's the baseline. That should help you start developing your character distinguishing features. And this is really important, because this is what will help you remind your readers as you present these characters in later scenes who this characters are by bringing up honor. Two of these features, All right, Another question to consider is your characters background, their childhood, the way they were raised, the kind of family they had and also how this character feels about his or her childhood, now the next. On this personality. And of course, personality is a complex notion. But you can start with the answering these questions. Is your character more chief? Cheerful or more gloomy, more talkative, for more quiet so you can go through that list and the choose the descriptors that best fit your character? Look at the intellect. What kind of student was this character? How does this character feel about his or her abilities. And do they have any special intellectual talents? Right? Not physical intellectual talents. Occupation is next. What does your character do for a living and how do they feel about it? And you can also talk about rewards and dangers of their job, which of course, will very widely, depending on what it is and consequences for mistakes. Political and religious beliefs are always interesting to look at in any mystery, and especially if you're writing historical fiction, for example, it's interesting to look at your characters beliefs. The second question here is. Do they involve joining groups participating in events, actions or demonstrations? So that could be an interesting venue to describe a swell. If they are participating in the group, it will be an opportunity for them to meet other characters, right, the suspects or the villains? Eso That's something to think about this well and do their believes limit this character's actions or associations. Maybe they're not supposed to be in a place. I didn't know where people drink wine, right, Or maybe they're not supposed to go trick or treating for Halloween or whatever it is. You can include that as well. Favorite physical activities. What are they and the vote role? Do they play in this character's life? A different aspect of a character that most likely all depending on the story may not make it into your mystery, but it will help you develop a more believable character. Remember, that's our goal, right? Developing a believable character, special talents or skills. And they mentioned this earlier. Like they know the Morse colder. They can fly planes That can be something that can help them in the this mystery, either to commit a crime or to solve a crime by depending on the what their role in the story is next on his life. Seven years in your special things, events, objects or friendships or memories that your characters carry with them throughout their lives. And why? What is their significance? Pets. And you can look at past and present pets. What are they? How did the character get them? What other names and why did they name them that so again, that gives you more insight into your character. Typical day. What's your characters routine from? Awaken up to falling asleep, and if there's no typical day than you can think about that as well. Why not? What do they do? How do they live that they don't have the typical daily routine leisure activities? What did they like to do for fun? And you can look at the range of activities from more active ones, like hiking or swimming or fishing to even watching certain TV shows, Right? So what do you your characters like to dio? And how does that shape the most people? Fantasies, dreams and hopes, And this is not It should not be the main goal of the story. So what I mean is for your sleuth, the main hope should not be to catch the criminal. That's an obvious one, but something different. Bigger professional goals or dreams or more specific ones that that don't have to do with this particular case, right? Childhood dreams is another issue to look at and how you character feels about them now. Personal spaces, where do they live and how do they decorate the personal space? And I give you a few questions here. What's inside their refrigerator medicine cabinet inside their car trunk and, um, other issues like that again, people's personal space is defined. Who they are Or maybe they define their spaces based on who they are, so that's important to consider, loves and hates. What do they love about their present life, and what did they hate about it? Ah, love Life is a character single, married, divorced, widowed. And how do they feel about this current state of affairs? So think about that as well. Failures and triumphs. What is the scarecrow most ashamed off or disappointed about? And what is Ah, the scarecrow most proud of or happy about? Those are important questions because they can help you get to the core of your character's personality, their identity and their soul. If you want to use that word, and the last thing I'd like it to look at is your characters, fears and desires. What does the character want in life? Most of all, and it shouldn't be related to your plot. It should be something else more of a global life desire and think about the obstacle that stands in their way and also think about fears. Maybe that fear is the obstacle. So we've looked at a bunch of questions. I hope that these questions help you develop your character better, and there a few of the things that like us to discuss. Let's go in and continue 4. A Few More Thoughts: in this section, we will talk about some other things to consider as you're developing your characters. One thing to remember is, and we started with that right. What is more important, plot or character? Both are important, especially the mystery story. And as you're writing your story, keep in mind that people are shaped by their history. So if you want a character to do something off course they can. You're in charge. They can do whatever they want you want, but they should have a reason to do it. And this reason should come from the characters history that hopefully you were able to develop as you answer. The questions were discussed in the previous lecture to avoid creating cardboard cutout type characters. Look for sympathetic aspects of your villain and flaws in your hero, right? So that's important to do a couple of other things to think about. If you're thinking about writing a Siri's, maybe about the a certain sleuth that's going to solve a bunch of different mysteries. Don't give to money details about your characters family, because maybe later you're going to need some long lost sibling, or maybe you're going to need a brother who has a certain certain occupation. And if you give too many specific details in the first book, they're going to be hard to change the side. If you hear has ah, life partner, romantic partner. Or if you want to leave that open for future adventures, right? That's an important consideration that you should think as your at your book, especially if it's a Siri's all right and again, I know said this before. But I'm gonna remind you to be specific when you're describing these characters, and I have, ah, a few examples off things that will make your characters more memorable to your readers. And if they remember them or they're, they're more likely to care about them. All right, consider what's hidden behind the below the surface of when you develop your characters in . Our whole exercise of answering those questions is supposed to help you do that. Not all these answers or characteristics will make it into the story, but they will help you understand your character better and write a better story. Another question. To consider about your victim. They want to make your victims sympathetic or the testable. Ah, that's a big distinction there. So think about that. And the last question is, does he Character knew the sidekick. So it could be a life partner, a work partner in neighbor, a friend, somebody that you character can discuss ideas with, and maybe even have disagreements about the course off actions to take. So it's a good question to consider, and, uh, I hope you do consider it as you write your mystery. 5. You're in Charge!: As you start planning and writing your mystery, remember that you are in charge so you can decide on what kind of characters to create. How many characters what kind of plot to write about. You have absolute freedom to do whatever you want in this writing adventure, and I think that's one of the best things about writing. But do keep in mind that the more you know about your characters, the more they will help you write the story, because the easier it will be for you to come up with a good plot and creatives characters in the realistic and believable way. And why is that important? Because if you develop well rounded, an interesting characters, then your readers will care about them and will end. They will care about your story as well. Good luck with your writing, and I hope this last was useful and helpful to you.