Characters are the driving force of a story. They develop and propel your story’s plot forward Character development gives your characters a personality, motivations, and depth to push them through your story. A believable character is three-dimensional and unique, possessing attributes that your audience can relate to. The character development process helps you understand each character’s core features before you begin writing your work of fiction.
This process helps you develop relatable, powerful, and unique characters. It also ensures characters remain consistent throughout your story while promoting their growth. The character development process, though complicated, should show realism by creating real people. This article outlines seven tips for fictional character development.
Set Realistic Goals and Motives
A character’s purpose in a story is their goal or mission. With the help of character questions, you can create a character that feels real. However, the questions should be right. Your character’s goal or mission should be realistic. For instance, if they’re looking for someone, consider the reason why. Is it a loved one they desperately need to find, or is it for revenge? Responding to such questions helps you set realistic goals and missions for your characters to keep them driven while helping push the story forward.
Conflict is vital to successful storytelling. It brings your story to life. Conflict forces your characters to act in a manner that reveals who they are. It happens when characters struggle with internal and external character. When you establish the conflict at the start and resolve it at the end of the story, it gives your story motion, purpose, and direction. When characters go against opposing forces, their emotions and actions show their character traits, creating compelling and multi-dimensional characters that are more relatable to your audience.
To craft tension in your story, determine the kind of conflict your story needs and decide what they want, then put obstacles in their way. Ensure your characters have opposing values and create a strong antagonist. Maintain the conflict’s drive through the story, then make the protagonist’s quest as hard as possible, so each moment seems like they’re less likely to conquer their trials.
Ensure the Characters Have Flaws and Strengths
Your story’s intrigue will flow from the way your characters respond to external and internal conflicts. To give your audience something to look forward to, ensure they can convincingly overcome the challenges the plot brings their way. When facing these challenges, they’ll need strengths to motivate them and flaws threatening to drag them down.
At the same time, you should keep your audience on the edges of their seats by creating a real risk that the main character could fail. Creating character strengths and flaws will help keep the tension in your plot while making your audience feel for those at your story’s heart.
Pick a Voice
Decide who will tell your story. The first person voice lets characters, mainly the protagonist, narrate the story with pronouns like “me” and “I”. The third person viewpoint is a voice out of action. The narrator’s perspective determines how character details are revealed throughout your story. To develop a unique, strong voice, choose a consistent voice for the narrators and decide if you’ll write colloquially or formally. Determine if your story will be driven by dialogue or description.
Develop a Character’s Physical Features
A character’s external features shouldn’t be an afterthought. While your protagonist’s body weight might not impact the story, it colors the way other characters respond or interact with them. In the early stages of your character development process, note your character’s physical features, including appearance and voice. Consider adopting a character profile template to create a more holistic character image.
Make Your Characters Stand Out
A character’s physical profile isn’t complete without the distinctive mannerisms that make them unique, including how they engage with everything around them. You want to reflect on how the characters respond to their environment, such as through their communication style, how they interact with other characters, and how this shapes their relationships. Consider how they go about the environment and how this impacts the way they’re treated. Don’t forget about what they do when uncertain, nervous, and exhausted.
Give the Main Characters a Backstory
Everybody has a backstory, and so should your fictional characters. The backstory helps you determine what makes your characters tick and informs their choices in the story. Look at the characters’ histories and lives to create compelling backstories and consider elements like good and bad memories, family, anger triggers, income, biggest fears, nightmares, and more.
Character development can be challenging and overwhelming. However, these tips can help ease fictional character development.short url: