Creating Cohesive Characters

CD_Creating Cohesive Characters

I like to fill my down-time with writing exercises.

This one is designed to create cohesion with your three main characters.


It’s easy enough to do: there are six main categories. Take three main characters and answer the following:

1. Your character’s role

2. Your character’s attitude

3. Your character’s temperament

4. Your character’s Deadly Sin

5. Your character’s Hamartia (Fatal Flaw)

6. Your character’s greatest fear

At the end of the exercise, you should find a pattern emerging. Your three characters should be clear individuals but, when viewed together, it should be clear that they complement and play off each other. For instance:


1. Your character’s role
  • Anna is the adventurer
  • Priya is the healer
  • Spindle is the scholar

2. Your character’s attitude

  • Anna is the planner
  • Priya is the nurturer
  • Spindle is the improviser

3. Your character’s temperament

  • Anna is the slow burn
  • Priya is the short fuse
  • Spindle is the silent calm

4. Your character’s Deadly Sin

  • Anna is Pride (hubris)
  • Priya is Envy
  • Spindle is Sloth

5. Your character’s Hamartia (Fatal Flaw)

  • Anna is self-sacrifice (believing she can always save/look after the ones she cares about)
  • Priya’s is bitterness leading to blindness of people’s true natures
  • Spindle’s is chronic lack of confidence

6. Your character’s greatest fear

  • Anna fears small spaces and being trapped
  • Priya fears pain and spiders
  • Spindle fears being completely alone

Have a go at the exercise yourself and see what you come up with. The answers may surprise you. Once you have a good grip on your characters, try this exercise:


Your character wakes up to find themselves alone in a locked room.

  • What is the first question they ask?
  • What is the first thing they do?

Then put your three characters in that locked room together. Do any of your previous answers change?

One thought on “Creating Cohesive Characters

  1. 1. Your character’s role
    Melora is the free spirit
    Jaspher is the rock
    Kale is the orchestrator

    2. Your character’s attitude
    Melora is wilful
    Jaspher is conflicted
    Kale is deceptive

    3. Your character’s temperament
    Melora is flighty
    Jaspher is steady

    Kale is cold
    4. Your character’s Deadly Sin
    Melora is Luxuria (lust)
    Jaspher is Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
    Kale is Ira (wrath)

    5. Your character’s Fatal Flaw
    Melora is naïve
    Jaspher is compliant
    Kale is overconfident

    6. Your character’s greatest fear
    Melora fears a cage
    Jaspher fears losing Melora
    Kale fears fire, and pursues it in equal measure

    Your character wakes up to find themselves alone in a locked room.

    * What is the first question they ask?
    * Melora: How do I get out of here?
    * Jaspher: How did I get in here?
    * Kale: Who locked me in here?

    * What is the first thing they do?
    * Melora: scream and bang on the door for help
    * Jaspher: look around for a key or other means of escape
    * Kale: sit there and wait for whoever locked him in to come to the door

    Then put your three characters in that locked room together. Do any of your previous answers change?

    * What is the first question they ask?
    * Melora: Jaspher, is that you?
    * Jaspher: Melora, is that you?
    * Kale: What the hell is going on?

    * What is the first thing they do?
    * Melora: Run away from Kale and hide behind Jaspher
    * Jaspher: Stand between Kale and Melora
    * Kale: Provoke Jaspher for entertainment

    Liked by 1 person

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