In my last blog post, I mentioned how selecting the right names for our characters can be important in establishing a connection between them and us writers. Aside from choosing fitting names, however, there are other means of strengthening this connection, which can prove useful in improving our writing experience and our audiences experience. Writing is more fun when this link exists. It may sound like a given, but Ive realized that, like many other things in life, my stories turn out better when I enjoy writing them. This isnt based solely on my own response to them. I’ve noticed that most of my readers tend to enjoy the work I had fun writing more than the work I didnt. I think its more than a coincidence. When I don’t feel connected with my characters, I’m not able to breathe life into them. As a result, they’re two-dimensional ghosts of what characters should be, which usually makes readers experiences less enjoyable. Hard as we try to hold onto that connection, however, characters occasionally drift away. When this occurs, I sometimes feel it’s a good time to focus on other pursuits until something brings me closer to my characters again. Other times, I decide to take matters into my own hands. If you’re feeling distanced from your characters, you might want to try one of the methods I discuss in this blog post to help you reconnect. These practices are also useful for fleshing out and exploring the settings and themes of our work better.


Create illustrations and concept art.

My favorite way to strengthen my connection with my characters is to draw them. Not only does it solidify their appearance and attitude in my mind, it gives me another medium to allow them to express themselves. Even if you don’t consider yourself to have much artistic ability, I’d suggest you still give it a shot, or even commission some artwork instead. Drawing out settings and maps for your story can help you visualize it and your characters’ place in the world better, too.

Talk about them . . . and to them.

It sounds weird, right? But I find it useful. We often feel compelled to talk about our characters with others, but imagining ourselves talking to them can help them feel more real. There are times when I have trouble writing organic conversations between my characters. Having an imaginary conversation with them usually brings me back in touch with them because I’m treating them like real people, which helps in crafting believable dialogue.


Have fun with cosplays.

I love seeing cosplays, but I’ve never been big on creating one myself. Last Halloween, I made an exception for one of my own characters. I dressed up as a cross between the main character of my current novel and a Stephen King character who was aesthetically similar to mine. It was incredibly fun and it helped me get into my characters head more, even though I lacked all the props to make it an exact match (hence the crossover with King’s character). You can check out my cosplay and some of my concept art here on my “Books” page.

Compile the soundtrack of their lives.

I’m big on using music to help set the mood for my stories and I’ve found hundreds of songs that remind me of different aspects of my characters and settings. When I listen to this music while writing, it helps the scenes flow more smoothly. However, it had never occurred to me to take this another step further and actually make a playlist of songs I could imagine my characters listening to until a friend tweeted the suggestion last year. I’ve tried it now and she was right: Imagining what music they would enjoy and then listening to it while writing them can be a great way to connect with them. My characters are set in a fantasy world where contemporary music wouldn’t yet be possible, but there are many songs that I can imagine them enjoying without having to picture them in a different time period, such as classical pieces and folk songs.


Of course, these are just a few methods that I use for my own stories. Its likely that not everyone will find them helpful or enjoyable. If you’re a writer and you’ve found other ways to reach out to your characters, please feel free to talk about them in the comments below!