Writing tips #4(Character Development)

Greetings fellow bloggers & readers!

Let us imagine a situation where I’d greet each one of you by your own names. Wouldn’t that make you more likely to read my posts with much more enthusiasm? Indeed, it’s true because our names are something we all love to be addressed with & names, in general, are what our minds remember the best.
This brings me to the second most important element of our recipe— Characters!
Before we begin here is the list we are following:
#1 – Word Count and Story Length
#2 – Choosing the genre/ Conceptualizing the story
#3 – Sequencing the Plot
#4 – Character Development
#5 – First Person/ Second Person/ Third Person Narrative
#6 – The Power of Foreshadowing


How many of you have heard about the great detective, Sherlock Holmes? Or the famous secret agent James Bond?
Now, if you haven’t read about them you may not know what their story is or how they are as individuals but you can surely guess that Sherlock Holmes is a complex man + a smarty pants while James Bond is a handsome gentleman.

When it comes to developing a character you need to think of a person. An imaginary friend, to be precise. And like every unique friend of yours, the character you develop needs to have the uniqueness AND yet stay within the bonds of realism.

The main aspects of character development:

  • Emotional vulnerabilities
  • Physical attributes
  • Attitude towards peers
  • Character’s angels [Strengths]
  • Character’s demons
  • Backstory
  • Name

These are not noted in any particular order of importance since every aspect is very important & can be given attention to arbitrarily.

Emotional Vulnerabilities

A person who doesn’t have emotions is never a person who’s alive. A character may choose not to showcase his emotions to others but that shouldn’t lead to a false image that the character completely lack emotions. When writers make a character who doesn’t have any emotional conscience, the readers get frustrated as there are no insights; no reasoning for that particular character to be the way he/she is. An emotional vulnerability may vary by its intensity, but there is always something or someone that a person cares for so deep that it concerns their happiness and well being.

Physical Attributes

Note: Mostly necessary for long stories.

A reader cannot picture a person without knowing how they look, how tall their body frame is or what remarkable features they possess. And since the eyes of a writer are the eyes of a reader, the writer needs to describe the appearance of character.
These descriptions not only help to picture the character, but also leaves a particular impression about them. For example, broad shoulders of a character portray a sense of confidence in them, oftenly associated with bravery.

Attitude Towards Peers

Don’t judge a man by his friends. Remember that the friends of Judah were impeccable.

-Ernest Hemingway

Judging a character by the type of people he stay with might lead to confusing and varied outcomes. But the way a character, him/herself, feels towards his/her peers is what sets everything straight. The peers are mostly the character’s entourage, the people our characters spend their time with. The attitude of a character towards their entourage is a reflection of how that character feels towards their own choices.

Character’s Angels [Strengths]

Always remember characters are writer’s imaginary friends. And the way some of our friends can help us in lifting heavy grocery bags or some might give us a warm feeling of comfort when we’re low while some may help us in maths homework, even our characters need to have such varying strengths. A character may be physically weak but their mind could still be a beast and thus they could make the craziest plans.(Evil or for the greater Good.)

Character’s Demons

People make mistakes. All the time. If our characters become the perfectionists who never commit a mistake, the amount of disappointment and suspense to the outcome of an event decrease drastically in the mind of a reader. The demons of a character never make them flawed, instead they make the character more realistic. The demons of a character are what make the character- humans.

BackStory

This is the foundation of developing a character. A character that is currently a doctor could have been once a homeless abandoned child, nobody knows. Feed to the curiosity of a reader, for the reader appreciates a mind boggling little details that we add in a character.

Name

As I said, initially, a name is what defines your character. The name makes the first impression on the reader and later the character.(Not always applicable for all characters.) However, having a catchy name for a character is not more important than matching the name of a character to their personality.

Bonus tip:

A writer doesn’t always pay more attention to the development of a lead character and ignore the rest, rather they pay attention to each and every character equally and make sure there are not holes. So, whenever you have an idea of a character, no matter how stupid, jot it down. For who knows where you might need a clown or a psychopath or a savior in disguise of a best friend.
PS— This bonus tip helps a lot.

How do you think will you describe your character? As the writer, or the character themself or as a person who’s along the characters? Yep, you got me right. I’m talking about the type of narration. Stay tuned next week, to get an idea of what type of narration would suit the best.


©The Honest Fabler

©Cover credits- Google Images