Characters Characterizing Each Other

So far, as I’ve been writing my NaNoWriMo novel, I realized that it’s not really me who’s bringing the characters to life and showing the reader what they’re like.

I’ve been seeing my characters through the eyes of the other characters, which means that to some extent, everyone is characterized very differently. It’s like real life, when you are not seen the same by everyone. To someone, you might be a devoted mother, but to another person, you might be a jealous and vengeful person.

By observing each other, my characters are bringing each other to life. Levi sees Alyce as a helpful person, whereas nearly everyone else in the story sees her as a nagging pain in the neck. Seeing the characters in all these different dimensions says a lot about them – and I think their personalities are a lot more clear than they would have been otherwise.

It’s much better to let the reader decide which characters he likes or dislikes, depending on which characters’ commentary he agrees with. That way, I don’t feel so intrusive as the writer. I don’t feel like I’m telling the reader who they should root for and who they should hate.

Anyway… if you’re doing NaNo, what’s your word count? Are your characters doing anything crazy yet? 😀

11 thoughts on “Characters Characterizing Each Other

  1. I very much like the point on points of view. We see this clearly in our own lives, but so seldom does it show up in literature. I suppose it is because in general our readers want everything to be “just so” in stories, simple, easy to get. Still, I can see good reasons for having person A find person B very different than the opinion of person C.

    NaNo word count:
    As of day 7, at 6:30 AM, I am hanging by my teeth at 14018 words.


  2. Sounds like your novel is really coming alive – excellent!
    I was just mulling over POV for my characters. – for that very reason; that they can comment on one another. However, this one is stayong on just my heroine’s POV, and I might try that. I want the reader’s to find out things about the other characters as she does, to heighten the mystery ( I hope! lol)
    It will be interesting to see if that while process works at the end of this. 😉
    Best of luck with your novel!


  3. I’d love to see some of what you write.
    I did not sign up for NaNo, but on November 3rd, I got brave and just decided to “pretend” I was doing NaNo and start then. I’ve covered about 6000 words now, so yeah, not great, but 6000 more than November 2nd I guess.

    BUT, I didn’t outline-plan, etc. I just went in with whatever I was thinking at the time. So, now I am in 6000 pages and I think of A) a different way I want to take it…but this would negate the last 4000 words or more….B) writing it in 3rd person and writing it from the standpoint of all 4 characters vs. my present 1st person (i’m seeing now how it would be important to be inside the others minds more and just focusing from one person as “I” might not be as effective)…but again, that would change everything.

    And, often I’m not even in love with the idea. Like, Im not sure its something I’d care to revise or invest time-editing-thought into in future . Not to mention that I have no idea where the story is going.

    Yipes. I have a problem as you can see. I’m very jumpy with writing. I constantly get new ideas or witty dialogues so I end up writing random scenes of random stories that come into my head — but then never follow through.

    I’m obviously new to all this and a tad bit lost.


    • You can change the novel completely – without deleting those words you’ve already written. With NaNo, it doesn’t matter if it’s a jumbled up mess, just as long as those 50,000 words are there – then after November’s over, you can edit to your heart’s content.

      Or you can write several short stories… there’s really no rule for it. Good luck!


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