How To Get To Know Your Characters – Take Them Shopping! #SundayBlogShare #Writers

writers, characters


Do you want to get to know your fictional characters?

Do you feel like you and your characters need to bond?

Don’t despair! I have an amazing new trick for writing better characters. It involves two of my favourite pastimes; writing and shopping.

As writers we need to create interesting and compelling characters because no one will enjoy reading about them if they are dull and lifeless.

We have to make our imaginary friends come alive and to do this we need to know them inside out.

I have been reading a lot of writing craft books and they all seem to suggest filling out questionnaires in order to get to know your characters. This is a great technique but if you want to take things a step further and really enjoy yourself at the same time – take your imaginary friends shopping! Yay!

Going shopping with your fictional characters is a great way of getting to know them. Very similar to going shopping with a new friend.

Now for this post I am using clothes shopping as an example but I am sure taking your fictional characters food or furniture shopping will also reveal some interesting insights.

Here is how to get to know your characters better by taking them shopping:

  1. Make sure you only have one character in mind when you hit the shops. Don’t have a gang of characters in your head, all trying to get our attention and complaining about your shop choices. Keep things simple.
  2. Think about which shops would appeal to your character. Are they in touch with high fashion trends?  Or is being bang on trend in terms of clothes the last thing on their life priority list? For historical characters you might have to improvise or hot foot it down a local museum.
  3. Think about your character’s financial status. Would this influence their shopping trip?  Would they be flashing the cash or would they be using money they haven’t got?  My character Roxy would definitely be raiding her weekly household money to buy her clothes for a hot date.
  4. When you enter a shop think about which clothes rails would catch your character’s eye. What sort of clothes would they gravitate towards?  Are they attracted by sequins and tight leather? *Sigh*  Are your characters drawn to the denim counter or would their heart sing out in the knit wear section?
  5. Think about their clothing colour choices. Would they choose colours that compliment their skin and hair colouring?  Would they even care about the green jumper not going with their pink hair?  Have you got a character who will wear matching outfits or do you have one who looks like they have got dressed in the dark?
  6. In terms of decision-making – how quick would they make a decision on clothing items?  Would they have to go to hundreds of shops before making a decision or would they buy in the first shop you visited?
  7. How would your character act towards other shoppers? Would they struggle to keep their excitement under control if they spotted a bargain?  If they had to make a complaint about an item of clothing or the service in a shop – how would that work? I am sure all you crime writers might have an interesting take on this given your evil characters.
  8. Think about what your character would talk to you about whilst you are both shopping. This is an important task to do because it will get you to think about what sort of things would be on their mind. What would they want to talk about whilst you both browsed through clothes rails? What would be on their mind?
  9. Think about how your character would approach a clothes fitting room scenario? Would they be wrestling with clothing items behind the curtain? Would you hear them groaning as they squeezed themselves into a tight sequined mini dress or a pair of skin tight trousers?
  10. Don’t forget about your character’s underwear purchasing choices. I do get a bit frustrated with some authors who don’t reveal what I call vital underwear detail. You can get some great character insights from underwear choices. Are they going for matching underwear? Do they even own underwear? Would love to know what sort of underwear handsome elves or mystical warriors are wearing these days? Check out this REALLY useful post on how underwear choices can reveal stuff about your personality. BTW – did you know wearing big granny pants means you enjoy a spot of procrastinating? Must invest in some new underwear to get my book finished!

So, the next time you need to get to know a character better – take them shopping!

Just make sure you don’t ask your character for fashion advice once it comes to your turn for clothes shopping. I get the feeling writers and their characters have very different tastes in fashion.

Have a great day!

Photo: Stocksnaps





Posted by

Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❀️

70 thoughts on “How To Get To Know Your Characters – Take Them Shopping! #SundayBlogShare #Writers

  1. Whoa, great advice. I write historical and I always find myself trying to imagine what kind of car my characters would drive, leather or jean jacket, macaroni or pizza. It’s so much fun. I’ll definitely use the shopping method!

    1. Thanks πŸ‘πŸ» I think writing techniques can get too serious so it’s time to bring some fun back. Characters are hard so we need all the help we can get. Happy Sunday! πŸ’πŸΌ

  2. Yes Yes Yes!! Lucy you didn’t disappoint!!!! I need to choose a character to take shopping. Maybe it’ll make me get writing again! (And a good excuse to go shopping!)

      1. Great idea.. what would happen if we combined it with the character shopping trip of another writer…? a whole new book could be written!!!

  3. What a great idea!! I do the questionnaires to get to know my characters but this would be just as informative and much more fun!! Thanks! Gotta run because I’m taking my book boyfriend shopping to see how he does!

  4. Reblogged this on Sharon E. Cathcart and commented:
    This is a really clever idea. It’s challenging for those of us who write historical fiction. However, when I was researching “Bayou Fire” in New Orleans, I lucked into an exhibit at the Historic New Orleans Collection about the shopping experience in 19th C. NOLA. How might you apply this to your own work?

  5. Great article! However, is it possible to meet my characters in a bar maybe? If I went shopping with my characters, they would disown me and move to another writer πŸ˜‰

    1. OMG – meeting up with your characters in a bar! My mind is boggling. If it was Karaoke night then my characters might be interested – we all love a good sing song!

  6. Love this advice. Love shopping too although virtual shopping with Pinterest is less expensive and more practical for vintage ideas and you have a record of their purchases for later. I did this while researching a 1950’s nightclub scene. And bonus, I still have the research if I pull out the story board again. *sigh

  7. Other than I can’t stand shopping (what does that say about me, I wonder…), this is absolutely brilliant. Really. It’s bound to give amazing insight into your characters. I’ve read about taking your characters to the coffee shop, chatting with them, being their psychologist…but I honestly never even thought of shopping. I usually know my characters very well but could definitely use some of these exercises. Great post!

      1. Hey Lucy, back at you too! It’s Throw back Thursday here, so happy Thursday to you too as the sun rises in your part of the world!😊😊

  8. That is such an interesting idea, Lucy! I’m now desperate to take lots of my characters shopping (one of them BADLY needs a stylist), but I’ll only do it one at a time.Have you bought yourself a g-string, then?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.