Tag Archives: Silvia Villalobos

Can You Imagine the Character You Read About?

Woman, Butterflies, Fashion, People, Minimalism, Art

Can you imagine the character you read about?

More importantly, is the character relatable?

How do we take abstract ideas and develop them into three-dimensional characters who love, laugh, hurt? Who live a life we can understand.

Here is what I’ve found through reading, writing, studying:

  • Give them a background. Why is the character a horrible person? Was he in an abusive household?
  • Create nervous tics or habits. Everyone has habits they don’t realize they’re doing — play with their hair (nervousness or self-centered), roll their eyes (lack of patience).
  • No character is absolutely perfect. Is a perfect person relatable or lovable? No, because we know that’s a front. They’re keeping something from us. We want to see what that is.
  • Character need realistic reasons for doing what they’re doing. If a character is evil, there should be a reason or it’s hard to follow, to believe.
  • Characters with unique features are interesting. They stand out if they have, say, buck teeth or big glasses that cover half their face, or two different color eyes, or a buzz cut so short the hair seems penciled to their head.
  • No stereotypes. Are all women maternal and spend their time in the kitchen cooking? Heck no. Are all men against asking for directions? No. I’ve seen it happen. It’s formulaic, and as such less interesting.

A good character not only carries a story, but can become the story.

I watched Homeland for one reason — the main character. Good show, but not all episodes carried their weight. Carrie, however, was worth every moment I took away from my own life to watch hers. It’s hard to encounter such a dynamic, vulnerable yet strong character in television. Same with the book series Bosch. Harry carried the story.

When reading, do you imagine the character in detail? Do you get attached to their story?

I do. Same when writing.

Paige, from my short-story collection Start Again (Survivor), is a woman who is only happy when she’s unhappy. Morose, distant, yet a tender soul who works long hours, donates to charity, and eschews anything social, Paige finds herself with one friend when life strikes. Loosely based on a real life person, Paige took on a life and look of her own as I wrote her. Her features developed in my mind’s eye little by little until a full-fledged person emerged.

Here is sort of how I see her — picture below. She is a mixture of morose, curious, vibrating with energy, distant yet helper. An enigma to many. An open book to few. You’d want Paige as a friend, but only after being around her a while.

Girl, Woman, Head, Face, Portrait

How do you imagine the characters you read about? Do you form a clear picture based on description, actions, both?


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START AGAIN – Cover and More

If you, like me, have been struggling to make it through some of your more ambitious reading material, here is a book you might enjoy.

Five short stories of mine, previously published in online magazines, come together in a collection titled START AGAIN. The target publication date is end of July, 2021.

A book that can be read without placing demands on your time.


Five short stories about five different women who go through the unpredictable moments that make life extraordinary. Here they are, among them a flash:

1. AN AFFAIR OF THE HEART, published @ Fiction365

Tess, a young wife, is thrown a curveball when her well-constructed plan goes awry. As she unravels a host of secrets, a new and different life opens up before her.

2. SURVIVOR, published @ Pure Slush

Paige, a young professional who is only happy when she is unhappy, discovers a few important things about friendship when she needs it the most.   

3. IOANA, published @ Red Fez

Ioana, and indirectly Wayde, learn to deal with different heartaches while on a beach in a foreign country for Wayde and home for Ioana.

4. THE FRIEND, published @ Red Fez

Eve, had put her trust in the wrong ‘friend’ and must do everything in the power to save her family.

5. GAMES, published @ Red Fez

Mia, fights back an abusive partner in the game of her life.


Please stay tuned for more about each character and their stories, images of what they might look like, and more.

START AGAIN, to be released at the end of July 2021.

Sign up below for a chance to receive a free book, and more about my writing and publication process.

Thank you & see you soon!

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