Oftentimes, writers find themselves caught between a love/hate relationship with their characters. A month later, they’re abandoning their story, without even realizing that it’s not their character’s that are the problem. I’m saying it – it’s the author.

Our characters are created by us. They won’t always respond the way we think they should. Taking a break from the computer seems to be the number one piece of advice that everyone gives when you’re writing gets stuck.

Here are five ways to love your flawed character, even if they are the villain of your story.

1) One way to fall in love with your character is to imagine your character is in front of you. That’s right. If you’re writing a dialogue scene, you can be the other character and talk it out. Don’t just read your dialogue out loud, make it engaging. If the scene has an argument in it, be angry. Sometimes when we put our real emotions into the story we begin to see why our characters are who they are. I do this all the time and it works.

2) Research your character’s name and write the meaning down. Remind yourself of that meaning whenever you’re tempted to kill the character. The main character of my novel, A Sacred Love, name is Kaiya. Kaiya is half black and half Japanese. In Japanese (with this spelling), her name means forgiveness. How beautiful for a story about a young girl learning to forgive her brother for molesting her because she yearns to heal?

3) Visualize a celebrity you love while writing. One of my favorite actresses is Nia Long. Hands down one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood in my opinion. I don’t necessarily try to make my characters like her, but visualizing her helps me to keep a positive attitude when I’m working on my female characters. I usually visualize her in one of my favorite roles and it keeps me pounding the keys. Pull inspiration from wherever you can.

4) Write a character bio. Even if you wrote one in the beginning, writing a character bio at different stages and from scratch can help propel you forward. Creating a character bio about your character, down to their favorite bedtime story when they were a kid, can really help you remember why you created them in the first place.

5) Lastly, one of my favorite ways to fall in love with my character is putting them in another story. Writing a novel is very demanding and takes great discipline. If you take your character and put them in a short story (it could be all of two pages), you may find yourself with another scene or even an idea about the next situation you want to put them in.

Be unique in how you approach your characters and you’ll be surprised at the results.

Mya Douglas is a bestselling author and writer who is currently signed to The TMG Firm. Her coaching business, Masterpiece Inked Publications, LLC., helps writers see their masterpieces come to life. Her recent release “Don’t Time Your Masterpiece, Take Time To Write It” is free when you sign up for a coaching package.

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