The Best Judge of Character? Why, 10 Famous Authors, Naturally


1. “Creation of character is, like much of fiction writing, a mixture of subjective feel and objective control.” — Julian Barnes

2. “Characters are not created by writers. They pre-exist and have to be found.” — Elizabeth Bowen

3. “The characters that I create are parts of myself and I send them on little missions to find out what I don’t know yet.” — Gail Godwin

4. “I don’t have a very clear idea of who the characters are until they start talking.” — Joan Didion

5. “I visualize the characters completely; I have heard their dialogue. I know how they speak, what they want, who they are, nearly everything about them.” — Joyce Carol Oates

6. “When I write, I live with my characters. It’s like going to work. You see the people at the next desk in full regalia all the time, and you know where they came from and where they are going. The point is to define the nuances of everything that’s happening with them and to find the element of their lives that is fascinating enough to record. That takes a lot of doing.” — William Kennedy

7. “Don’t write about a character. Become that character, and then write your story.” — Ethan Canin

8. “The character that lasts is an ordinary guy with some extraordinary qualities.” — Raymond Chandler

9. “It doesn’t matter if your lead character is good or bad. He just has to be interesting, and he has to be good at what he does.” — David Chase

10. “Think of your main characters as dinner guests. Would your friends want to spend ten hours with the characters you’ve created? Your characters can be loveable, or they can be evil, but they’d better be compelling.” — Po Bronson

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