Heather Elizabeth King

Author of Dark Fiction

Creating Characters

I have a staring problem.

Honest. I stare at people longer than I should. Sometimes someone catches me doing it, too. When it's a man, often he thinks I'm flirting with him. But I'm not. I'm a writer and being curious about people is sort of my job. It's what makes me able to create believable characters. More than once I've been inspired by someone I've seen out on the street. Either they remind me of a character I've been struggling to make seem three dimensional, or I have an epiphany and realize my WIP is missing an important ingredient. That character. I never create them exactly how I see them, they're more of an inspiration. A starting off point. A foundation.

And from there, anything is possible!

People watching also helps me to understand people better. I'm blessed to have friends from all walks of life. I'm not drawn to any one particular type of person, rather, I'm drawn to all types of people. I have conservative friends and liberal friends, rich friends and poor friends, and everything in between. Educated and uneducated, and whatever falls between the two. I love getting to know them. I especially love my friends who throw dinner parties and invite me. Dinner parties are the perfect place to people watch.

What is it I'm trying to learn from staring at all of these people? Everything! The way they move, the way they interact with people who they love, as well as people who they hate. How they speak, if they swear or not, all of it is interesting to me. It all helps me to create the perfect character. My goal is to create a person that readers can practically hear breathing. I'm never sure how close I get to my goal. If I nail it or fall short, but I'm enjoying the process.

So if you ever see me out and about and catch me staring at you, don't worry. I'm just writing a book...and you may be in it!

Happy Reading!


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