I have been writing a book for a while now. Well honestly a couple of books because when I find myself stuck on the first one I start writing something else. This has developed into 3 main books and lots of weird poems. I find this break from the original book helpful combating writers block. This post though is about developing characters, which at first I found easy and now difficult. Now that I am reading through my first half of my book I am finding some characters completely pointless and take away from the book, while other characters are pointless to the stories plot but gave my book life. Now I wished I read up on how to develop realistic lovable characters before I started writing because the process of morphing a couple characters into one or eliminating, aka KILLING, off some of my characters difficult. So below is the most helpful research I found on developing characters.
From HOW TO WRITE A BOOK NOW:
Generally speaking, when you create characters, you have four main criteria to meet. You want to:
1. Create characters who fulfill the required dramatic functions. (this would of saved my some anguish right now if I read this first)
2. Create characters who are memorable.
3. Create characters who are believable.
4. Create characters who are three-dimensional.
How to Create Characters Who Are 3-Dimensional:
1. Purposes. What things does your character want in life? These can be long-term goals or present needs, and varying degrees of importance.
2. Methods. When faced with a problem, how does your character try to solve it? How does he act? What does he do?
3. Evaluations. How does your character judge things, people, situations, herself? How does she decide whether she is making progress towards her goals, or whether things are getting worse?
- See more here!
From ReferenceForWriters on Tumblr:
Here are some basic steps on developing a character, yet, you can do it as you see fit:
- You start with the personality. Once that’s done it’s relatively easier to know how they look like. You sculpt and pick virtues and vices, flaws and qualities—perfect characters are not interesting. When it comes to protagonists and antagonists, they’re neither 100% good nor 100% bad, because there is not fully good or bad people. Get what I’m saying? Round characters are the thing we’re going for. Take details from people in real life, if you want: funny habits, mannerisms, what makes people human.
- Work on the appearance of your character. What’s their body type, their eye color, skin color, hair color, shape of their face/nose, if they have birthmarks or scars somewhere…
- Pick a name as you see fit. This can be the first step depending on how you work. Is there a meaning behind it? does it show somehow their character’s personality? remember sometimes they are relevant to the setting/genre.
- Flesh. ‘Em. Out. Think of hobbies and background. How’s the relationship with their family and friends, how they act around authority, what kinds of clothes they like to wear…
- Always remember: character development is an ongoing thing. You never “finish” developing your character, just like we, as people, don’t stay the same.
That being said, be creative with it! Don’t imitate the way your favorite authors develop their characters- create your own way! your characters are all yours! Make playlists about songs that remind you of your characters, keep a journal for them- sky’s the limit.
Good links for you:
- Fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment: a blog just about character development. Seriously, if you are not following this blog, you are in nothing.
- Our character descriptions and characters tags, along with body and mind and personality.
- Create fictional characters from scratch
- 13 ways to create compelling characters
- Moral Alignments and Jung Personality Theory: both good resources by the same person. They’re a different way to add dimension and understand better your characters. Even if you aren’t using them, they’re still a pretty good read.
- Get to know your characters interesting questions require interesting answers.