With every writer looking to entertain their readership—and ever reader looking to become addicted to the books they pick… there’s a great desire to know how the best characters are developed. This blog article is all about character development. Taking your character and turning that character into something readers will want to return to again—and again. Try these tips out and see if you can make them work for your book.
Getting To Know You…
Before you publish that first manuscript, I think it’s always a good idea to know your main character inside and out. What color is his hair? What’s his birthday? Do you know his Birth sign? Does your heroine have a preferred pizza she likes to eat? Maybe a lot of this will never come up in the first, second or third book – in fact, you may never explore some of it over the course of the series. But you need to know, one way or the other, so that you don’t put your foot in it in book four by talking about how your hero has been a Catholic since birth only to have it pointed out by fans that he was a devout Jew in the first book. Those are the kinds of mistakes that make writers look foolish.
How Does Life Impact Your Characters?
In other words, the events in your novels should have some impact on your characters. To me, there’s nothing worse than a character who never learns from his mistakes, never draws from crucial experience, and doesn’t seem in the least changed by the events in their past. Particularly if you’re writing a mystery, thriller, or adventure series, those events are significant. Picture this– people are dying, battles are lost, a foe escapes… These things are going to have some effect on your character’s mental wellbeing and personality.
Keep The Journey In Mind
This is the way that your character changes and grows from book to book. This may be within a single novel or the entire series. The nature of writing means that our characters are always surprising us – insisting on going where they want to go– which means that a character’s journey may well shift from what you originally thought it would be when you first set out to write the series. But if your character is making the same journey and struggling with the same issues in every single novel, it’s bound to get old. Likewise, it’s to your benefit to move the journey at a believable pace, rather than making unbelievable jumps.
Characters Are People Too
In plot-driven books, it can be very tricky balancing a character with a storyline. Who wants to talk about how you feel about your lunch when there’s a mystery to solve? The best writers understand how to do both at the same time – How someone deals with a problem says a lot about that person.