If you want to write great stories, you need to have great characters, characters that are alive with real motivations, histories and interests. There is so much you need to know about the people telling your stories. What do they look like? Are they tall? Short? Blonde? Brunette? Who are there parents? What are their jobs? Have they ever travelled? Can they dance? Everything you know will help to inform your writing and make your characters real three-dimensional people. No matter how good your story is, if it’s not told by convincing characters, it’ll never be great. 1 comment
There are several things that you can do to help with your character development. Firstly, you can ask yourself some simple questions about them. Here is a list of things to think about:
• Achievements/ failures
• Possessions/ clothes
• Political opinions
The list is endless. This simple exercise is useful and it is just the beginning. For example, if you decide that your character likes cars then you have to know something about cars. If your character knows how to fix an engine, you’ve got to do some research. Read up on engines, talk to a mechanic, get an idea of what’s going on. If your character then ends up in a discussion about cars, you are able to maintain their integrity. It all comes down to doing your research.
While research is vital, there are also many more abstract things that can help to develop your character. For instance, what type of animal would your character be? What colour? What piece of music? What painting? How does your character breathe?
Basically, what are they like? Describe them in a few key words. Surprise yourself with what you find. All of these things will help you when describing your character, their movement and giving them a voice.
The way that your character speaks tells you so much about who they are. All this work will help you with bringing their thoughts and voice to life. You must think about how they talk, their rhythms, vocabulary, phrasing and personal embellishments. The simple example of someone saying “Achilles flaw” as opposed to “Achilles heel” can imply an incredible amount, based merely on the altering of one word.
If you’ve done your base character work why not try to play with them in the real world to see how they hold up? Why not start a dialogue as your character with the people of Scribeslice? Provide everyone with a bit of character information and request kindly if they’ll ask you some questions about yourself and your opinions. This will give you the opportunity to really test your creations with the help of the writing world. Use everything you’ve found already, but never be afraid to discover something new.
These are just some ideas on character, but I’m sure if you put your creative mind to it, you’ll think of many more.