Giving Dimensions to Your Fiction Characters

四季Please note that I live in the Great White North. The seasons and their corresponding emotions are reflective of life along the 49th parallel. The emotions, however, can be applied to your characters no matter where you place them, geographically speaking. If the cause of their mood is related to the season, be sure they are in a location that experiences that particular season at the specified time of the year. (Your protagonist may be depressed during Christmas in Australia, for instance, but it will not be because of mounds of snow.)

And speaking of snow . . .

How does the cold weather affect your state of mind? Do you find yourself thinking too much, over-analyzing your life? Do you jump aboard the emotional roller-coaster?

This time of year can lead to everything from low grade depression to full-blown S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

Does the cold weather affect your protagonist? Would it add a new dimension to the story if it did?

Signs of Spring

And as March approaches, so does the promise of spring—my hubby’s favorite season. He loves to watch the trees come to life and keeps me posted as the buds become more prominent and finally burst into leaves. I admit spring never caught my attention until he pointed this out. And I do love it when tulips and crocuses push through the last of the snow.

Maybe one of your characters feels the same.

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

As summer approaches, many people’s minds turn to rest and relaxation, kicking back at the beach, and going on vacation. Personally, I’m not a fan of sweltering hot days, but that’s just me.

How does your antagonist feel about summer? If it’s relevant to the story, be sure to let readers know—by showing rather than telling, of course.

An Explosion of Color

Can you tell which season is my favorite? I love the smells, the sounds, and the sights of autumn. The nip in the air. The promise of new beginnings. The call to grab my camera and go for a photo walk. It likely goes back to my childhood, but it’s hard to remember back that far (grin).

Maybe that pile of leaves in the neighbor’s yard beckons your character to revisit their childhood. Do they succumb? If so, what comes of it?

These and many other possibilities present themselves to give your story a whole new dimension—and maybe even take you along a storyline you hadn’t imagined. And, if nothing else, you will know your characters better and that will shine through your writing.

Enjoy the journey, my writing friends!



by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist 



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