Character Conversations #4: Get Character Ideas From The News

Every month I like to put out a new blog post that has to do with creating believable characters. If you haven’t read any of the posts yet, be sure to check them out here, here, and here.

The news is everywhere, isn’t it? It’s on the radio, TV, in newspapers & magazines, as well as almost everywhere online. Since the news is overpowering and everywhere, why not use the news to collect character ideas?

I got this idea the other day when I was searching online for something. A news story popped up about a man who fosters terminally ill kids.

In the article, there was a video. He said, ““The key is, you have to love them like your own. I know they are sick. I know they are going to die. I do my best as a human being and leave the rest to God.”

When I read that, I got extreme goosebumps. I felt a story.

Start Collecting Stories From The News

1. Take some time every week to look through the news. 

Don’t spend too much time on news everyday or you might get depressed.

2. Look at news from other countries.

I really like looking at the BBC. Sometimes stories are waiting outside of the main news avenues that you are usually looking at.

3. If you get newspapers or even magazines, take a glance through them. Read the areas you don’t usually read. 

Take ideas from those sections and connect it to something you do like writing about.

4. Take notes where you are. If you are out and hear something that is happening, take notes in your phone.

Story ideas are everywhere. You just need to listen for them.

My Example:

From my example up above, I would be inspired to write two characters. An elderly couple, who takes in children that others normally wouldn’t. Here are my characters.

Here goes:

“Honey, are you ready?” Glenda called from the kitchen. In the study, her husband, Calvin sat at his desk and traced his finger around the face of a little girl who wore pigtails. On his desk were countless other small frames filled with different faces of kids who had been in and out of their house. Deep down inside he’d wished that they’d left to live with happy families to live the rest of their lives. But that did not happen, because he and his wife had decided to take the children that were sick and dying. It was a tough calling, but they were children who needed love. 

Calvin stood up and set the frame back on the desk. He turned the light off on his way out of the room. His wife, who wore an ebony dress and a locket, hugged him.

“We should probably head to the church now. So we can say good-bye.” She said. He felt an intense gurgle in the pit of his stomach. This was never something he enjoyed. Whenever they left, it was the hardest saying goodbye. It broke his heart every single time. 

Now It’s Your Turn…

Find a story in the news that inspires you to create a character. Then, write your character. Share it with us below, in the comments if you’d like!

About Devin Berglund

Writer. Dreamer. Wanderer. Enjoyer of Life. She loves crafting stories that change lives. Her first book "The Mason of Hearts" was recently finished. It's the first in a Fantasy Adventure trilogy. She is also working toward agent representation.

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