Create Vivid Characters Via Their Defining Moment

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Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider books about a 14 year old spy have sold ten million copies worldwide.

In an interview, Anthony Horowitz: The secret life of a spy master the author talks about the Alex Rider character:

“He’s not surprised that those about Alex Rider have been the most successful. ‘Alex is the most real character I’ve written,’ he says. ‘I vividly remember being 14. That was the age when I started to get happy: I started being a writer and stopped being a loser.'”

Can you remember the defining moment of your own life?

Once you find it, you’ll understand how to find it in story characters, and your characters will be more real.

The defining moment of your story person’s life can be looked on as a seed: this is what shaped your character and it’s what will make him real to both you and your readers.

In unsuccessful novels (and you’ll know as you write it that the book’s not coming to life) characters are either wishy-washy or cardboard. Fix it. Find the defining moment: it’s the beginning of really getting to know your character, and your characters becoming vivid.


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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.