A Quick Character-Building Tip…


…Alright, I’ve had a long and somewhat frustrating day, so I’m kind of phoning this one in and then off to do some NaNo planning (for once in my life). I do apologise. Please forgive me, and have a flick through some old posts once you get bored with this one…

Anyway, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what your characters look like, or to get a grip on the core elements of their personalities. For this, I find The Sims games to be really handy (not to mention a fun way to lose three or four hours of your life in the name of ‘being productive, honest’).


For example, these are a couple of characters from myย The Perfect Garden series, as I initially imagined them. The one on the right was created before the first book – the first word, even – was written, and I therefore based the foundations of his literary counterpart on the appearance and traits of the relevant sim.ย The chap on the left appeared first in the book, and then I introduced him into the same town on The Sims because it didn’t feel right not to have him and his family there.

They’ve changed a bit in my mind since then – for one thing, I’m currently working on the first book, which is set when they’d both be a little younger than they are in the picture – but it’s great to have a visual reference when I’m stuck, and a few core things that define the characters. For example, both of these sims have the Bookworm trait, and when I’m stuck on what to write for either of them I often turn my mind to what they might be reading at the time.

Any character creation programme can be handy for your writing – and if you happen to spend eight hours playing with the characters afterwards, well, you’re just seeing if any fun ideas or interactions crop up.

…That planning I was going to do? I’ll admit it; it involves The Sims. Enjoy your evenings!


15 thoughts on “A Quick Character-Building Tip…

    • I made the mistake of simming one of my characters as a novelist (the closest I could get to a historian) – he wrote 6 novels in 4 (real-time) hours before I realised it wasn’t helping me get my own done! I still like to play with the creators though. The Sims 4 Create A Sim Demo is my current new toy – you can only make young adults but with the demo there’s no actual playing with them so it drives me back to writing once I’ve got the picture!


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