Author Sara F. Hathaway, on Character Development

Big thank you to Sara F. Hathaway, author of Day After Disaster, for her guest post today! Read what Hathaway says about creating memorable, consistent characters…

Characters are key to a great novel and developing them can expand your mind to new places. Readers appreciate being able to feel the emotions and understand the feelings of each character not just your main character. Make sure that all your characters have their own stories and motivations. Some of your characters may come straight out of your life and some may be completely fictional but either way you have to bring them to life and keep their profile consistent throughout the story.

When I created Day After Disaster, I did it over a very long period of time so maintaining the same characters throughout the story was a challenge. To tackle this obstacle I kept a notebook that has notes not just on my characters but on timeline of events, camp layouts, supply lists, etc. so that the flow of the story is never broken.

Here’s some character details that you will want to have written down and refer to often:

  • Physical characteristics – age, height, hair and eye color, build, etc.
  • Background – where were they born, how was their childhood, what motivated them to get where they are today?
  • Family tree – who are their parents, siblings, etc. and where are they now? How was their relationship with these people?
  • Main personality traits – how do they react to situations, what do they know, were they formally educated, etc.

You should lay out all the details for each character. Even if you never use any of the information in your book you should still consider these factors. They are key to bringing out who the person really is and why they react the way they do.

*Helpful hint – a great place to go to find new character information is any type of forum on the internet where individuals are asked to introduce themselves. You will gain knowledge about people from many walks of life. Of course you need to change names and personal information but there is a never ending supply of character details all over the internet. You can combine details and create vibrant characters of your own.

SaraHathawayAuthorPhotoBWSara F. Hathaway is the author of the book, Day After Disaster. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor’s degree in business management, she returned to her passion for a rural existence. She has extensively researched and practiced survival techniques and utilized forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first novel and helping other authors skyrocket their careers to the next level. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit:

Follow Sara online!!






Day After Disaster is an apocalyptic, adventure novel, featuring a dynamic young woman, mother and wife, Erika, who is thrust into a world turned upside down by a series of natural disasters. Finding herself alone in a city mutilated by this disastrous situation, she must save herself. Once free of the city confines, she desperately tries to navigate through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get back home to her family. Not knowing if they are alive or dead she must call on all of her survival instincts to plot a course through this broken environment.

Book Links:!saras-survival-stuff/c1mzf

15 thoughts on “Author Sara F. Hathaway, on Character Development

  1. Sara I love your tips on character-building. Very good stuff. I also subscribed for your Go Bag Essentials because my husband has no clue about saving ourselves and neither do I. Thank you for this valuable information.

    1. Thanks so much Shirley. Hopefully I can help you feel a little more confident about your skills! Please feel free to pick my brain anytime.

  2. This is a useful description of your method of character building, Sarah, and another interesting post! I hope you’re having a GREAT Spotlight week! 🙂

    Sarah, thanks so much for hosting Sarah today! 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for hosting Sarah! I appreciate your participation and that of my fellow authors here, with all this wonderful feedback!

  4. Thanks for the tips. Surfing the web forums for character information is a great idea. A while ago I did that for a book that has yet to be written about depression. Too depressing to write it. 😉

  5. Excellent advice, Sara! I didn’t start to keep this information until recently but I’ve found as I age I have CRS disease (Can’t remember …). Keeping these records come in handy especially with a series which is what I’m working on now. I started the first two books many years ago, so to start with I had to go back, reread and make notes on the different characters already introduced. I’ve also found images to go with the characters. I have a second series also started, and for the next book, I’ve done the same thing. One of the characters has a large family, so I’ve tried to add a bit of information about each one; although, they may have a part in the book or they may not. It hasn’t been decided yet.

    Thanks for hosting, Sarah!

  6. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Character development is vital to a strong story. Weak characters make for weak reading. Good post Sara.

    Sarah, thanks for your fantastic support and for hosting!

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