Universal Needs – Creating Characters


Our characters control our story. A novel, which consists of a plot, scenes, and settings, cannot move forward without characters.

One of my favourite things about writing a story is creating a character. I like to concentrate on creating the best protagonist and antagonist I can. These important characters drive stories. I love the idea of a blank character questionnaire, where I can mould a personality who will be strong enough to tell the story. Will he or she have a personality disorder? How will their body language reveal their intentions? Which of the 12 Most Common Archetypes will he or she fit?

Getting under the skin of my characters is fun. I have to decide what motivates a character to act or re-act to a situation. If you look at psychology, this is usually because of an unmet need.

We found this incredible list of universal needs by Gina Senarighi in her post, Relationship Advice: Set Intentions and be heard again. She says, “Marshall Rosenberg founded Non-violent Communication years ago based on his theory that all human behaviour centres on met or unmet needs.  Use this list as a guide to identify which unmet needs might be underlying your intention.”

The character you create in a novel will have unmet needs too. Use this list to help you define them.

If you want to know more about characters, read these posts on Creating Characters from Writers Write.

© Amanda Patterson

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

by Amanda Patterson

© Amanda Patterson

If you liked this articleyou may enjoy:

  1. Types of Love – Creating Characters
  2. The 12 Most Basic Character Building Blocks
  3. Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *