6 Steps to Developing Book Characters (The Art of the Craft)

~ 3-minute read

What is Character Development?

Character development is the process of creating and evolving fictional characters over the course of a story. This process involves the gradual transformation (or lack of transformation in some cases) of a character’s personality, beliefs, and actions as they encounter new experiences and challenges.

Effective character development requires a deep understanding of your character’s background, motivations, and goals, as well as a clear idea of the arc your character will follow throughout the story. This may involve exploring their backstory, their relationships with other characters, and the events that have shaped them into who they are at the start of the story.

What is the Main Goal of Character Development?

As the story progresses, your characters should face obstacles and conflicts that challenge their beliefs and force them to make difficult decisions. These experiences can deepen their personality and reveal new aspects of their character that were previously unknown.

The goal of character development is to create complex and multidimensional characters that readers can relate to and empathize with. By giving your characters a backstory, motivations, and flaws, you can make them feel more human and believable.

How to Get Started Developing your Characters

While developing book characters can be a fun and rewarding process, it can also be challenging. Here are some steps you can take to start developing your book characters today!

Step 1: Start with the basics!
Begin by giving your character a name, age, and physical description. Think about their background, including their family, upbringing, and education.

Step 2: Create your backstory!
Develop a detailed backstory for your character. Consider their past experiences, relationships, and motivations. This will help you understand how they will behave and react in different situations.

Step 3:Define your character’s personality!
Determine your character’s personality traits. Consider their strengths, weaknesses, fears, and desires. This will help you create a well-rounded character with depth. Consider creating character profile sheets to keep yourself organized.

Step 4: Give your characters goals!
When crafting your story, you will want to give your characters clear goals to achieve in the story. This will give them a purpose and help you drive the plot forward.

Step 5: Consider using character archetypes.
Character archetypes are universal patterns or types of characters that appear in literature, film, and other forms of storytelling. These archetypes have been used throughout history and across cultures to create characters that audiences can easily identify and relate to. Examples of character archetypes include the hero, the villain, the mentor, or the love interest. This can help you create a character that readers will be familiar with and relate to.

Step 6: Use character questionnaires
Consider using character questionnaires to develop your character’s personality, backstory, and motivations.

Character Development Pro Tips:

  1. Show, don’t tell: Show your character’s personality and backstory through their actions and dialogue. Avoid simply telling the reader about the character’s traits and backstory.
  2. Continuously develop your characters: Remember that your characters will develop and change throughout the story. Be open to these changes and allow your characters to grow organically.
  3. Show their strengths and weaknesses: No one is perfect, and your characters shouldn’t be either. Give them flaws and vulnerabilities that make them relatable and realistic. At the same time, show their strengths and skills to make them likable and admirable.
  4. Make them unique: Your characters should stand out from one another. Think about their quirks, mannerisms, and speech patterns to differentiate them from one another.
  5. Develop their relationships: Relationships are the core of any romance novel, so it’s important to develop the dynamics between your characters. Think about how they interact with one another and what draws them together.
  6. Show their growth: Throughout the story, your characters should experience personal growth and change. This will make them more interesting and dynamic, and their relationship will be more rewarding as a result.

Overall, character development is an essential aspect of storytelling that can help create engaging and memorable characters that readers will love. By using these tips, you will find yourself crafting memorable and engaging characters that will bring your novel to life.

Remember, creative writing is a multi-faceted craft. Be kind to yourself along your journey and join us next month for our next article in the Art of the Craft writing series.

Because every word counts.

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