How to Use AI to Create Your Characters

create characters with AI

Your characters are the heart of your narrative, giving life to the worlds you create. Crafting and developing characters is a crucial skill to have while storytelling. However, with the advancement of technology in writing tools, artificial intelligence (AI) has presented new opportunities for authors to enhance the creative process while creating characters. 

How do I use AI? Sparingly, and as a creative sidekick. 

What does that mean, Dan? 

It means AI is my idea partner. I bounce ideas off AI all the time (and I’ll show you examples in this article) to flesh out characters and improve the ones I have. That’s quite a bit different than asking AI to write my story.

Understanding AI Prompts

AI prompts have emerged as powerful tools for authors designed to spark inspiration and innovation, assisting authors as they develop their characters. These prompts are specific cues generated by algorithms that trigger creative responses from writers.

Unlike other prompts, AI-driven prompts leverage machine learning capabilities that provide unique and sometimes even unexpected ideas. By presenting unconventional ideas, scenarios, or concepts, these prompts promote creativity with the goal of pushing authors past ordinary ideas. 

That’s important, because flat characters kinda suck.

Benefits of Using AI in Character Development:

  • Unlimited Inspiration: AI prompts provide an almost infinite source of inspiration, ensuring writers have a constant stream of creative ideas at their disposal.
  • Diverse Perspectives: AI prompts often introduce novel and unexpected elements, encouraging writers to explore diverse perspectives and break away from clichés.
  • Efficiency and Productivity: With AI prompts, writers can overcome periods of writer’s block more efficiently, enhancing productivity and maintaining a consistent creative flow.
  • Enhanced Creativity: By challenging writers with unique scenarios, AI prompts stimulate creative thinking, leading to the development of more complex and multidimensional characters.
  • Time-Saving: AI prompts expedite the brainstorming process, helping authors quickly generate ideas and focus on the actual process of writing and character building.

How to Get the Most out of AI Prompts

AI prompts have the ability to inspire uncommon traits with the potential to push the boundaries of your idea generation and creative process. By using these prompts, you can explore and incorporate traits that add depth, complexity, and originality to your characters. They disrupt traditional character traits and predictable archetypes, resulting in characters that feel more authentic and relatable.

AI Character Creation Example

In the following dialogue with ChatGPT, I asked the AI to expand on my coming-of-age fantasy character Erys.

Me: Let’s add a spiritual aspect to Erys, such that she must find her power inside her. Make it the fantasy equivalent of transcendental meditation.

AIIn the distant kingdom of Zephoria, the tranquil village of Talon’s Reach nestles at the foot of the Glass Mountains. Here, a 16-year-old orphan named Erys carries an unusual gift and a spirit touched by an unordinary adventure. Known throughout her village for her ability to communicate with animals, Erys is singled out by the enigmatic Elder Maven, a wise sage who carries the deep knowledge of the ancients and a belief in the boundless power of the subconscious mind.

Erys, with her griffin companion Pyrrhus and a silent but sagacious mage-in-training, Soran, are entrusted with a prophecy that foretells a time of darkness for Zephoria. The prophecy hints at a hero who will rise, a chosen one with the ability to speak to the beasts and a spirit powerful enough to confront the darkness.

Her journey takes her through treacherous terrains, magical realms, and challenging encounters that serve to awaken the dormant power within her. With each trial, Erys learns more about the power of her subconscious mind and how her beliefs and thoughts can shape reality, echoing the teachings of Dr. Joseph Murphy.

A spiritual undercurrent runs throughout her adventure, adding a depth to Erys’s character and journey. The ancient sorcerer Valikar, banished for his darkness and craving for power, becomes a mirror for Erys’s inner battles. He seeks an ancient artifact, The Obsidian Crown, that promises to amplify his abilities. Erys must not only prevent Valikar from claiming this artifact but also learn to master her own innate powers and understand the true essence of the prophecy.

Through introspection and understanding the power of her subconscious, Erys discovers her strength. She realizes that the darkness she fights externally also exists within, and by illuminating her inner self, she can bring light to the world around her. This realization forms the core of her spiritual journey and provides a unique perspective on the concept of power and heroism.

“Shadows and Shimmer: Rite of Passage” is an enthralling coming-of-age tale interwoven with spiritual growth. It explores the power of the subconscious mind, the struggle between darkness and light, and the transformative journey to self-discovery. It affirms the idea that the true battle lies within, and the power to change the world begins with changing oneself. Through her adventures, Erys not only holds the fate of Zephoria in her hands but also embarks on a journey of spiritual growth that shapes her into the woman she is destined to become.

I love this. At the moment, I’m not writing a fantasy novel. But I’ll keep this dialogue in case I do!

Addressing Concerns about AI-Generated Clichés:

The use of AI prompts in character development inevitably raises concerns about the potential for generating clichéd and stereotypical characters. While AI offers a significant boost in creative output, there’s a risk that it might lean on common tropes. It’s essential for writers to approach AI prompts accordingly to avoid these concerns.

  • Strategies to Use AI Prompts Judiciously: Diversify Input Sources:Input varied prompts from different sources or on different themes. This helps break away from overused ideas and introduces a range of perspectives, reducing the likelihood of generating stereotypical traits.
  • Challenge Assumptions: Actively challenge AI-generated suggestions. If a prompt leads toward a familiar character archetype, question it. Push the boundaries and encourage the AI to propose traits that defy expectations, fostering creativity and originality.
  • Combine and Remix: Rather than accepting AI-generated traits as standalone, experiment by combining and remixing them. This process can lead to unique character blends, preventing the straightforward adoption of clichés.
  • Specify Criteria in Prompts: Fine-tune your prompts by specifying criteria that discourage clichés. For example, request traits that are unexpected, contradictory, or rooted in unconventional perspectives. This guides the AI toward generating more nuanced character elements.
  • Iterative Refinement: Treat AI-generated content as a starting point, not a final product. Iterate and refine the traits, adding your personal touch to ensure they align with your narrative goals and steer clear of clichés.
  • Human Insight and Editing: Infuse your own insights into the AI-generated content. Human intuition and understanding of nuanced storytelling can play a crucial role in refining traits, ensuring they contribute to a well-rounded and authentic character.
  • Awareness of Genre Tropes: Familiarize yourself with common tropes and clichés within your genre. This awareness will enable you to identify and avoid overused ideas, guiding the AI prompts toward more innovative and genre-defying character traits.

By employing these strategies, writers can find a balance between active engagement and creative judgment to ensure that AI remains a tool for inspiration rather than a source of creating predictable characters.

How to Choose the Best AI Platform for You:

Before choosing an AI platform to aid your character development, it’s important to experiment with a few platforms to make a decision on what aligns with your writing style, preferences, and overall needs. Check out these popular AI Platforms for writers:

  • OpenAI’s GPT-3: Known for its versatility, GPT-3 generates coherent and contextually relevant text. It’s widely used for various writing tasks, including character development.
  • ChatGPT: A sibling model to GPT-3, ChatGPT is designed for conversation and can be utilized for interactive character brainstorming, making it engaging for writers.
  • Deep Dream Generator: While primarily an image generation tool, Deep Dream’s algorithms can spark creative ideas, especially when seeking visual inspiration for characters.
  • Sudowrite: Focused on enhancing writing style, Sudowrite provides suggestions and improvements, aiding writers in refining character dialogues and narratives.
  • ShortlyAI: Tailored for content creation, ShortlyAI assists writers in generating concise and focused text, making it beneficial for character descriptions and dialogues.

What do I use? 

I lean on ChatGPT 4 for everyday work and character development. Sudowrite is an excellent piece of wizardry which combines multiple AI platforms and organizes character sheets, plots, story beats, etc., so you don’t need to continuously feed them to the AI (even the most advance AI tools still have very short memories).

But as much as I like Sudowrite, I prefer ChatGPT 4, because I work with it every day and understand its strengths and weaknesses. Sudowrite is more like a black box that I can’t adjust.

Criteria for Selecting the Best Tool:

  • Usability: Choose a tool with a user-friendly interface that aligns with your comfort level and technical expertise.
  • Versatility: Opt for a platform that caters to a wide range of writing needs, ensuring versatility in character development, dialogue creation, and narrative exploration.
  • Customization: Look for tools that allow some level of customization. The ability to tailor prompts or adjust parameters can enhance the tool’s effectiveness in meeting individual preferences.
  • Output Quality: Assess the quality of the generated content. A good AI tool should consistently produce coherent and contextually relevant text.
  • Community and Support: Consider platforms with active user communities or robust customer support. This ensures that you have resources to turn to if you encounter challenges or need guidance.
  • Cost and Accessibility: Evaluate the pricing structure of the AI tool. Some platforms offer free versions with limitations, while others operate on subscription models. Choose one that aligns with your budget and usage requirements.
  • Integration: If you plan to integrate the tool into your existing writing workflow, check for compatibility and integration options with the tools and software you commonly use.

Maintain Your Authenticity

I enjoy writing stories and creating story arcs. I don’t want to turn those processes over to a bot. And frankly, my readers deserve better.

Although AI serves as an excellent tool to use alongside your own creative ideas, it’s important to keep your output authentic to your unique authorial voice. Take advantage of the following tips to ensure you maintain your authenticity while using AI to develop your characters:

  • Set Clear Guidelines: Establish clear guidelines for your narrative voice before engaging with AI prompts. Define the tone, style, and overarching themes that align with your unique voice.
  • Curate AI Suggestions: Treat AI-generated content as a starting point rather than an final product. Select prompts that resonate with your established voice and narrative vision.
  • Edit and Refine: Edit and refine the material to ensure it seamlessly integrates with your voice. This involves adjusting language, pacing, and nuances to align with your established style.
  • Inject Personal Touch: Infuse your personal experiences, emotions, and perspectives into the narrative. This human touch ensures that the story resonates with authenticity and remains a true reflection of your authorial voice.
  • Experiment with Hybrid Narratives: Blend AI-generated content with your original writing in a way that enhances rather than dominates your voice. Experiment with hybrid approaches, integrating AI suggestions where they complement your unique style.
  • Consistency is Key: Strive for consistency in your authorial voice throughout the narrative. Ensure that AI-contributed elements seamlessly fit into the larger tapestry of your storytelling, maintaining a cohesive and engaging reading experience.
  • Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts as an author. If an AI-generated suggestion feels discordant with your voice, it’s okay to discard or modify it. Your intuition is a valuable guide in preserving the authenticity of your storytelling.

Conscientiously balancing AI with your voice will allow you to harness the benefits of technology while preserving the uniqueness of your writing.


Integrating the use of AI prompts into your creative process serves as an excellent tool for authors looking to push the boundaries of their character development. These prompts provide fresh and innovative perspectives on character generation, allowing authors to supplement these sometimes unconventional ideas to add depth to their narratives.

Although it may be tempting to heavily lean on AI, it’s crucial to maintain your authentic authorial voice within your stories. AI platforms are an amazing tool to use as a supplement to your own creativity, and if used properly, can elevate your characters and narratives.

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