I just saw this great thing about character development and it was so good, I had to blog about it.
This is taken from 30 day writing challenge. I do not own it.
Anyway, this is what I saw. Character development and eleven things to brainstorm.
1)Goal, motivation and conflict, both for inner and outer life.
I’m really glad they put this one as number one, because it’s so important. I feel this is most important thing for a character. What’s their goal in life, what’s their motivation for doing what they do and what’s the conflict. What’s stopping them. This pretty much ties right into plot. If we don’t have this and just have a character sitting around doing nothing, it would be a really boring book. I’d have to say this is something you need to figure out pretty early.
2) Strengths, inherent and learned.
Another good way to make your character unique. What are they good at? What are the things they just learn easy and what are talents they’ve picked up along the way. You can have two identical characters (say twins) but if their strengths and talents are different, it helps set them apart.
While of course there are lone wolves in books, most people usually have some kind of relationship. Family, friend, spouse, siblings. If they really don’t have any (which is very sad) explain why. Is it because the guy’s a massive jerk and anti-social? Or is it something outside their control? If they do have relationships, it can help flesh out a character. We’ll see how they treat their brother’s girlfriend, or younger sister.
I really like how on this list, appearance is number four. Of course everyone right away figures out eye and hair color, but I have to say, is it that important? If I went through the whole book not knowing your character had brown eyes, would it really matter?
On the other hand, appearance can give big clues to a character. In my first book, one of the main characters meets a woman who’s about twenty-three years old. This is a quote from the book as he takes in her appearance.
“I take an extra second to get a good, hard, look at her. The other time, it was her attitude I noticed, I wasn’t really seeing her. She’s Latina with dark hair pulled into a perfect tight bun. Her clothes are simple, just loose, plain brown. In fact the only thing I notice is her pants have razor sharp creases in them. She isn’t wearing any makeup. As I study her, I realize she has the potential to be good-looking, but is seriously downplaying herself.
I’d almost guess she dresses like she wants people to overlook her. There’s nothing about her which stands out, except for her confidence.”
Do you get an idea of the kind of person she is and what her personality is?
Another great thing to think of. How much schooling do they have? Do they speak properly or with slang?
In my first book, the narrators are a fifteen year old girl and her twenty-five year old brother who’s a lawyer. Obviously these two have SUCH different ways of speaking. He has two degrees and is used to writing very formally and properly. His chapters are much different then his sister’s. She uses a lot of slang and talks… Well, like a teenager.
6)Home and living circumstances.
Where do they live? Do they wish to live next to the ocean, so they can hear the waves crashing on the beach at night? Are they a country girl? A city boy? A hermit who lives alone in the woods? More great clues to personality.
7)Preferred travel method.
I have to say this one is a tad weak. I mean, unless it’s really big, like they have a fear of flying or driving and REFUSE to get around by these methods, It doesn’t really matter so much.
8)Backstory as it related to the story.
I love how this says “relates to the story.” A lot of times I’ve seen authors add in details you really don’t need. I mean, if you throw in a story about visiting San Fran when they were kid, it better have a purpose, not just five pages of riding the trolleys.
9) The things in their pockets,backpack, satchel, car, ETC.
These are good small details which can be slipped in. Does the character always expect the worst and have an emergency kit ready in their car at all times? Do they always carry their phone with them?
10)Habits, mannerism, ticks.
More little things which make your characters people. In Big Bang theory, Sheldon refuses to let anyone else sit in his spot and always knocks three times on a door before entering. These are little quirks (weird ones) which make him a memorable character.
11)Other elements or factors that occur to you as interesting or important.
Like they say, actions speak louder then words. You don’t have to tell us Sheldon is weird in Big Bang Theory, you can simply show us how weird he is. Again, show don’t tell.
As long as it’s important to the story or the character, show us. We’re going to be spending a lot of time with these characters, make us want to enjoy being with um.
Have a great week =)
(P.S I don’t own Big Bang Theory)