Writing Characters Smarter Than You Are

This week on Hide and Create, Michael Sullivan, Jordan Ellinger, Debbie Viguie, and Joshua Essoe talk about writing genius characters.

Naturally this is an intimidating prospect, I mean you are only as smart as you are, so how do you write a character that’s even smarter than that? How do you write a genius? Well, to put it simply, you cheat!

In the episode, we talk about how you can write backward, use secondary characters as mirrors, the powers of observation and precision, but I want to use this space to touch on jargon.

Don’t use jargon unless necessary for the character. Don’t throw it in just to hopefully add a flair of authenticity. Unless the jargon is easily understood through context, all it will do is muddle your text, and not only make it harder for readers to understand, but make it harder for them to be immersed in your story.

That isn’t to say that an expert in his or her field shouldn’t use appropriate jargon if it fits that character and helps establish them as a genius, or as someone who really knows what the heck their talking about. Use Jargon Dictionaries and interviews to get this right.

Writing a genius-level character can be a lot of work, but if you pull it off, you can truly have an epic, memorable character. Lots of work is worth it. I think at minimum you should give it a shot. Write a short story about a genius or featuring a genius and let us know about your experiences or questions in the comments!