The one thing that grabs a reader’s attention better than anything else is to have a realistic and interesting character. This is essential in creative writing and will help to develop a real connection between the reader and the action that will be happening in your story. The following is the first step in developing your character. It is a brainstorming method which can be used to continue the character development from other authors on our site. Remember you are the photographer of the character, so take a well composed photo of them for the reader to see.
Much like when you sign up for Facebook you will need to create a profile for your character. Is the character like you? Do they look, act, and feel the same things you do? You should create a name, assign their age, origin, do they follow the common tenants of your world, and what are their experiences. This information does not need to be in depth but it will help guide you and your character through the story. Below are a few common areas which are recommended for inclusion in your brainstorming session.
- Appearance: This may be the most difficult part of your development. If you are writing and contributing to many different types of stories you will want each character to be different. May authors tend to make their characters reflect themselves in one way or another. Do not fall into this trap. Be as creative as you can with your character. What do they look like. Do they have long hair and a pointed nose? How about a distinctive scar? How do they talk, walk, and interact. Maybe they have a very specific clothing style. Help the reader capture what the character looks like because that vision will stay embedded within their minds for the whole novel.
- Literary Habitat: Is your character living in the real world and interacting as normal humans will, or are they on a strange planet with exotic rituals and customs? Either way when developing these areas, it is important to note how your character fits into these customs. Or doesn’t fit in. Knowing how your character interacts with their habitat will help the reader engage in the story more fully. Further habitat development will be discussed in another post.
- Friends and Family: To continue the same Facebook analogy, after you have created your profile you need to connect with your friends and family. Who are they? What do they do? Are the true friends or only acquaintances? What will they teach you and your character during interactions. This is where you can develop the love interests and enemies and how each interacts with your main character.
- Habits: Much like normal life your character will have developed habits which either help or hinder their progression. They may also have a side hobby or interest which could play into the how they solve a major problem in the narrative. Do not go overboard here as this could become a source of disbelief with the reader if your character is all knowledgeable when they really shouldn’t be. Also, remember to not make all of your character’s habits, good or bad habits. Having a good mix of both will help the reader find themselves in the character, and they can be crucial to the plot even if they are input as subtle undertones.
- Annoyances: What really gets your character’s goat? This could be something from the environment or from other ancillary characters.
- Phobias: Tell the reader about what is going on in your character’s head. While not all characters will have a fear it is important to note what your character is afraid of. The character may not overcome this fear during the course of the novel, but having another line of underlying tension will help further the story in critical moments.It may even allow you to provide a brief respite from extended rising action through the use of a flashback to where the phobia was first felt.
- Desire: Your character’s desire will often match with the end goal of the novel. It doesn’t have to, but having them work for the same goal as the reader will help secure a sense of accomplishment within the reader at the end of the story.
So what will your photo look like? Develop each of these areas fully, and your audience will appreciate the character and want to read more and more about what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future. We hope that this helps and good luck integrating some of these concepts into your next story.