Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

Get Into Your Character's Head

Ever wonder how to write true-to-life characters packed with authenticity? Finding out what makes them tick is one way but getting in their head will give you all the details. Here are some suggestions:


Play Pretend

What are your characters’ likes, hobbies, favorite foods, or clothes they like to wear? Try these things on your own. The best way to find out what your character’s thinking is to become them. Are they part of a different culture? Learn as much as you can and immerse yourself in it. By trying out the things they do or like, you allow yourself to add more detail to your story and really get to know them.


Jot Down Notes

Listen intently to someone in real life that is like your character. For example, if you’re writing about a person that was born in the '50s, it helps to hear a person from that period speaking. By focusing on how they say something or what they say, you can write an authentic voice.


Get in the Right Head Space

Make sure that you're in the right mind to get into your character's head space. Remember to focus on the characters alone when writing or editing a scene where you want to be in the character's head. There are so many elements to a story from plot to setting but focusing on character will help make one come alive.


Go Ahead, Head Hop

What is head hopping? It's when a writer goes from one character's point of view to another, switching between both or with many characters. We get to see the inner thoughts of all these characters, which can be jarring to a reader if not done right. The suggestion here isn't to head hop on the page, but head hop in real life. Looking at multiple people in a crowd, figure out the inner thoughts of each through their gestures. Watch a tv show on mute or a foreign movie and guess what the characters are saying by the emotions spelled out on their face. Sometimes you can guess the gist of what's going on this way. How does this help get in your character's head? By focusing on everything else outside their head, we can figure out what's going on inside.


Let the Characters Take Over

Once you think you know your character, by means of asking many questions or writing through that character's POV until it becomes natural, let that character tell YOU their story. There's nothing like a character-driven story where the scenes come from the character and not the author. If you find yourself wondering how you're getting all these unusual ideas while writing, you may just be following the natural rhythms of your character. That means you've officially got into your character's head and now they're in yours. 

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