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How To Write Authentic Characters

It’s imperative to write authentic characters if you want to craft a compelling screenplay.

To achieve this, it’s crucial to explore their inner worlds and understand their thoughts, motivations, and actions.

To think like your characters, you need to be armed with the right questions. As a professional script consultant, I often recommend a specific approach to the writers I work with, taking personality tests and quizzes on behalf of their characters.

In this article, I’ll cover exactly this and explain the inside-out approach to help you write authentic characters.

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It’s imperative to write authentic characters if you want to craft a compelling screenplay. To achieve this, it’s crucial to explore their inner worlds and understand their thoughts, motivations, and actions.

To think like your characters, you need to be armed with the right questions. As a professional script consultant, I often recommend a specific approach to the writers I work with, taking personality tests and quizzes on behalf of their characters.

In this article, I’ll cover exactly this and explain the inside-out approach to help you write authentic characters.

What Is “Writing From The Inside-Out?”

‘Writing from the inside-out’ essentially involves thinking as your characters do, which means immersing yourself in their mindset and gaining a profound understanding of what drives them based on who they are as a person, as well as the specific circumstances they’re in and who they’re interacting with in a scene.

To craft characters that feel real, it’s essential to grasp their psychology, and so this method is very important from creating authentic characters.

How To “Write From The Inside-Out”

A great exercise for understanding your characters on a deeper level is to take personality quizzes on their behalf. 

The Myers-Briggs test is an excellent starting point, as this widely-used personality test categorises individuals based on their psychological tendencies, which will help you explore your characters’ unique traits and behaviour patterns.

There are numerous other quizzes and opinion polls available on websites like Buzzfeed and Playbuzz. These resources offer a wide range of quizzes that can provide additional insights into your characters’ inner worlds.

writing authentic characters

The Benefits of Using Personality Quizzes for Writing Authentic Characters

Engaging with personality tests and quizzes may seem like a somewhat unconventional exercise, but the benefits are substantial.

Beyond helping you think like your characters, these tools assist in understanding their behaviours and daily lives. More importantly, they spark inspiration for adding nuances to your characters and generating ideas for plot points and scene development.

Remembering To Use Contradictions To Write Authentic Characters

Whilst using personality quizzes are useful for getting into your characters’ mindset, it’s important that they are layered with contradictions as well.

By allowing your characters to exhibit multifaceted and occasionally contradictory behaviours, you will infuse authenticity into your storytelling.

These unexpected actions should be responses to elements within your narrative, contributing depth and authenticity to your characters’ development.

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In conclusion, the inside-out approach to character development is a potent technique for screenwriters seeking to create authentic and relatable personas in their work.

By immersing yourself in your characters’ psyches and using personality tests and quizzes to gain deeper insights, you unlock their complexity, enrich your plot, and create characters that resonate with your audience

Nick Fore Script Doctor / Script Consultant

Nick Fore is an experienced script consultant who reads screenplays for the British Film Institute.


He has written comprehensive coverage on over 1,000 scripts and has helped screenwriters get their work into development with production companies such as Imagine Entertainment and Screen Ireland. 

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