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Pretentious Personalities Help Create Characters…

November 20, 2013

Pretentious – definition: assuming an air of great dignity or importance : pompous


As writers we strive to create believable and memorable characters. One way to do this is to study characters in movies or on TV that resonate. I found this great list of pompous characters, all of whom are well liked in their media situations but would certainly be difficult to actually live with in the ‘real’ world. Each of these characters have clearly defined personality traits, which make them well rounded personalities.

There are many methods that, as writers, we can use to form a character. One of the most common is a ‘character biography’ or ‘profile’. I have inserted a couple but you can always formulate your own. We can also utilize personality traits from people we know or even celebrities. A good deal of the information and back story we put into our character’s profile will never get onto the page but with our knowledge of them ensures our character reacts to the situations we put them into, in a ‘realistic’ way.

What method(s) do you use to form your characters?

bio sheet



  1. Wow! That’s quite the construct.
    I’ve developed the characters in my novels – especially the villains – by making their all-consuming desire clear and then whittling away at anything that isn’t in keeping with that desire and personality.
    In my previous life as marketing communications guy, I’d follow a standard procedure and create a short document called a positioning statement.
    The positioning statement is 30-100 words that describes what a company or product does, what it doesn’t do and how it should be presented. I do the same thing with my characters.
    For instance, here’s my character statement for my villain in Gravity Games, Big Ed.
    “Big Ed is consumed by greed for money and perverse personal pleasure. He will do anything, hurt anyone to increase his wealth and attain the pleasures he seeks. He rose from relatively modest circumstances and has spent his entire life solely focused on becoming the world’s richest man because of the status and power over others that it will bring.”
    Once I had that desire in place it became easy to make him speak, dress and act and react in a consistent way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a fascinating way to develop your characters. I had one villain that my beta-readers really hated, which was what I wanted. However, we have to balance the bad with a weakness/foible or something that shows their inner fault – the reason they became that way. I rewrote part of the story to show why he acted the way he did with innocence women!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most villains are the way they are because of something in their past but in other cases some people are just broken.
        I have two true villains in Gravity Games.
        Big Ed is a born psychopath and gets worse throughout the book. I loosely based his character on Jeffrey Dahmer as presented in the graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer.
        My daughter called me at 11 p.m. one night just to tell me how much she hated Big Ed. One reviewer gave Gravity Games – which has mostly 5 star reviews – 2 stars because he hated Big Ed. Without my prompting he later took down the review because he felt it was unfair because he enjoyed the rest of the book.
        My second villain, a scientist, is created much like the Frankenstein monster. A government program created him to be god-like. The experiment went wrong and he was born damaged, physically, mentally and psychologically. He becomes obsessed with gaining the future which he believes he was entitled to by birth.
        If you like wild thrillers you can download a free copy of Gravity Games at:
        Use coupon code HU44J

        Liked by 1 person

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