author, creative writing, writing

Creating Characters: Hobbies and Interests

Morning daydreamers, I hope you’ve all had a great week.

I am still in the editing stages of novel 1 right now, but also using my down time to flesh out ideas for novel 2. I find this a more relaxing process, so it counts as down time and productivity all at once – perfect!

In doing so, I have been creating characters. I have discussed this a few times on the blog, with posts about character personality traits, physical traits and choosing names. Today though I’d like to discuss the importance of characters having hobbies and interests.

Hobbies and interests for well-rounded characters
Most people have hobbies and interests, in fact I would say everybody has. This can be anything from the extreme end of sky diving, wind surfing or cliff diving to more laid back activities like watching films or reading a book. One thing’s for certain, giving your character hobbies like these gives the reader an immediate insight to the type of person that character is. Try and think of hobbies/interests that reflect personality traits in your character that effects the plot, or makes them behave the way they do. It makes them more believable and relatable.
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Hobbies and interests to create character relationships
Having a hobby can be a great way to meet new people, and in novel writing this can be a great way to introduce characters to one another or spark relationships and friendships. The choice of hobby/interest can be important to the dynamic of the relationship between the characters. Picture two people meeting at a rock concert, and what that might say about who they are. Or two people locking eyes from across the library. It can be a great way to bring like-minded characters together, and immediately gives the reader great insight into what these characters may be like as people.
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Hobbies and interests to move the plot forward
You can use hobbies, as mentioned above, to create more well-rounded characters. In some cases you may only mention their hobby fleetingly, as it serves no purpose to the plot. However, you can use hobbies and interests to move the plot forward too. For example, in my novel 2, a woman in hiding loses her anonymity when she starts selling her artwork in a local cafe. This is seen by someone from her past and rapidly causes carnage. This is just one example of using a character’s hobby to drive the plot forward.
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Do your characters have hobbies and interests? Are they important to who they are as a person, or as plot devices? Maybe both?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please do comment or contact me anytime.
Until then,
Keep writing,
M
x

P.S. – If you’re feeling sociable come find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

 

24 thoughts on “Creating Characters: Hobbies and Interests”

  1. Did people in ancient times have hobbies? I wonder if this is something to consider with my high fantasy stories. 😀 I don’t know if you got pinged, but I linked your page on my last post for an award. Love this blog!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Maybe the had but there was definitely less diversity. I’ve read one where a character used the spare time during his travels to carve things from wood – and then sell them to make some extra coin on the side.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks so much JM! I don’t think I got pinged, so I’ll go take a peek.
      I would say they did…it depends how ancient, as some we know through records and some we don’t. But consider amphitheatres and how people for centuries have enjoyed art, entertainment, theatre, music, fighting…
      x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. M.L., to your progress: I am still in the pre-beta stage of book one, yet already working on the first draft of book three, so you’re not alone in this. I just could not help it going on between drafts, to keep being truly creative instead of just editing…

    Anyway, on the topic of hobbies. Writing fantasy gives me fewer opportunities (and much less diversity) than one would get from writing something happening the present day. Yet, I managed to find a few situations like that: the main character loves just walking through the woods (obviously a piece of myself in him) or ride on his horse. His friend, an archer, can carve out small wooden sculptures and also crafts her own bow with some personal decoration.
    And, while probably not fitting the best description of a hobby, several characters (especially nobles) can play chess. There are a few scenes where they do that while talking instead of just standing around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tomas, it sounds like your characters are certainly well rounded with interests that suit their surroundings and their lives. I agree that in fantasy you can have fewer options for hobbies than writing in a contemporary modern day. But yours work well. Thanks for stopping by ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting post. In my most recent short story my main two characters, Mae Catherine and Ben, share a love of poetry. I used their writing poems to share with each other as a way to explore writing poetry myself. In fact, your Instagram was a huge help! I had never written poetry and had no idea how to start. So, I used some of your writing prompts to get started on most of them! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi M.L. great post and it totally makes sense for well-rounded characters – I am also in the efiting/re-writing stage of novel one so a perfect time to become aware of such things 🙂 My characters have interests perhaps more than hobbies so my MC loves to watch and help her grandma as she sculpts but sketches herself and her best friend had a secret interest which takes her into the forest seeking fairies – I didn’t plan for them to have these hobbies/interests but it is good to be aware that it is anessential ingredient thanks! xK

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree that hobbies/interests can round out a character, but I’d caution writers not to put them in just without more thought to how it builds character and plot. I’d also move into the category of “quirks” and “eccentricities”. For example, I know a girl who takes selfies of all her outfits then uploads them to an app categorized by season. This way, she knows what goes together and remembers the clothing she has. Now that got my attention! Compare this to a character who is just interested in fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree! I think the mentioning of hobbies/interests should either explain important personality traits (as in, traits that impact the story) or move the plot forward. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Like

  6. Ooh, your novel 2 idea sounds like it’ll be a great read! I never thought much about hobbies for my characters before writing, but in the course of writing, things came up. One character likes spy movies, which ends up providing a joke and moving the plot forward, and another is a runner. That kind of popped up during a draft with no forethought and later brings about a character arch. I didn’t plan any of these hobbies but now can’t imagine my characters without them. Hobbies really do round characters out, and as usual, you’ve blogged about it in the best way possible. Thanks, M.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kate! I am so excited about novel 2 that it’s taking all my will power to stay focused on novel 1 edits! Haha. Yeah you have fantastic, believable characters in your story and you are so right that sometimes their interests and hobbies just develop as you write. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting as always! x

      Liked by 1 person

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