Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Hardest Thing About Character Development

In today's blog, I wanted to touch on a subject I was asked about recently. I thought I would share the insight and my response I gave to a fellow author. Please post your comments and/or suggestions here.

The Hardest Thing About Character Development

In my opinion, the hardest thing about character development is developing the character. Sounds crazy, but what I mean is answered by a series of questions. Is the character male or female? What is his/her job description? Is he/she your protagonist? What characteristics does he/she have? Is he/she fun, boring, young, old, quiet, loud, etc.? It is the initial creation that can be the most difficult.

I first start with the character’s traits and create a bio for him/her. I like to make it seem if I’m writing a resume for a job interview. But it can’t stop there. A resume holds information vital to a profession. A person has more to them than that. What hobbies does he/she have? Are they fit? Are they overweight? What color hair and eyes? All of these things need to be factored in to your character’s profile.

Then . . .

Just as real people do, characters evolve. They may move from job to job. They may change their hair color. They grow up. Their personalities change. Their tastes change. It is said people mellow with age. Do your characters? Everything you and I go through, your characters should. If you do not have them evolving, they become static and unbelievable.

Not only must they advance, their ratio between who they are and how they live, for example, must be consistent. In other words, if you have your character moving residences, unless they hit the Lotto, they can’t all of a sudden be living in a grand palace if they are just moving from skid row.

This is all challenging, yes, but to me, the hardest thing about character development is where to start, who they are initially. From there, you just add on personalities and the like. Build them to be a real person and they will be and remain believable.

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