My Character, My Clone

Characters are the main part of the story. They should all be unique, they should have their own personality, and they should not all sound just like you.

Just like you develop your writing voice and style as you write, the same is true for your characters. They grow and develop, their voice and personality becoming more and more distinct as the story goes on. But what would happen if they started sounding, acting, and becoming like you?

Think of it this way: If the world was filled with clones of you, going along with their business on a busy street, it would be weird and unnatural, not to mention creepy. The same is true with your protagonist, antagonist, and the man that plays the kazoo. They should not be clones of you. They should also not be clones of each other.

Check out their dialogue. See how they greet people, how they react to certain questions, what they yell when a bucket of shrimp is launched at them. If it sounds like something you would say, chances are the way they act is a lot like you as well. Give your characters a little quirk that's theirs. A little twitch, a certain way to say hello, things like that.

Being a fantasy writer, my characters have a very different background than my own. This makes their feelings a lot different than mine, but for all writers, that's also something to watch out for. Their background is part of who they are. If it's nearly identical to yours, it's not going to make your character their own person. It'll be you with a different name.

Something I like to do that I picked up from a friend is to write out a series of questions (i.e. What does love mean to you? Ever laughed so hard your stomach hurt?) for my characters and see what answers that they would give to those questions. It helps me to develop their personality and make sure that they're not all answering the same thing.

Your character is not your clone. Make sure they don't act like one.

That is all.


  1. Hey,
    As I read my draft I realized yes it is quite a clone of me! Please can you give me the list of questions you mentioned above, it'll really help..:)

    1. Here's a few, but you should definitely try to figure out some questions that are important to your story specifically. (:

      What is love to you?

      What is your greatest fear?

      What is your happiest childhood moment?

      Have you ever cried?

      What is your most important possession?

    2. A lot of my characters are people I want to be. It really helps.
      But I can't write until I know my character inside out, though:)

    3. I do that a lot too! And same here. I give them their full names, personalities, general appearance and so on before I even begin to start writing.


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