Learning from Your Characters – Guest Post 1 – Branwen OShea

One of the things I love most about writing is how much you can learn about yourself or life from writing deeply motivated characters. I’m currently working on revisions to my second book in the series, specifically the motivations for my heroic characters who agree to do something really dangerous and unwise. As its currently written, I suspect readers will be shouting, “Don’t do that!” at them, so it needs to be rewritten to be more believable and relatable.

Finding Humanity is a young adult series, and I often include my teens in character decisions like this. After all, they’ve lived with ‘knowing’ these characters for over a decade. We’ve decided that often the worst things can be decided for what seems the best reasons. As they say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Sorry characters, but you’re about to enter hell.

Branwen OShea author photoAbout the Author

Branwen OShea has collected unusual stories and animal friends since childhood, when wild creatures waited on her porch for help. She helped found a cat rescue and has shared her home with an opossum, skunks, raccoons, and a crow. Her interest in communicating with animals was matched by a keen urge to help people connect with themselves and the natural world through stories.

Published books:

Visit her website: branwenoshea.com


5 thoughts on “Learning from Your Characters – Guest Post 1 – Branwen OShea

  1. Jodine Turner says:

    Yes, I have certainly learned about myself not only in the process of how I write, but in what i write. Especially in those instances where a character turns out to represent an aspect of my deep psyche (not always the case, but it certainly happens.) It can be illuminating, humorous, even scary!

  2. margaretduarte says:

    “One of the things I love most about writing is how much you can learn about yourself or life from writing deeply motivated characters.” This reminds me of the following quote by Amy Tan. “The fictional mind can take me to what it knows and bring that knowledge to the surface and onto the page.”

  3. Jenna Newell Hiott says:

    Great insights on character motivation! Personally I love when characters are motivated by something outside of my normal motivations. I enjoy pondering the differences among everyone’s unique psychology.

  4. Elizabeth McCulloch says:

    As I struggle to figure out who my characters are, I do a lot of thinking of how they’re different from me. Which of course leads me to thinking of who I am. (At 73 you’d think I’d know)

  5. Robert Springer says:

    It’s fascinating to see your characters say or do something and realize they are channeling you — yourself at some time and place or someone you know or knew at some time and place. Characters who seemed to ‘write their own lines’ were in fact repeating things you’d been told or heard so long ago that the words sank into your subconscious mind.


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