When writing our own stories, novels or something that requires some creativity, we are often faced with the problem of developing characters and making them interesting. This is because we are required to build our characters from scratch and make them big enough to fit and make what we are writing flow perfectly. Good characters will handle a poor plot while a good plot cannot handle bad characters. This means that having good characters is better than having a good plot.
It is important to note that there is no right way to write stories. Similarly, there is no right way to develop characters. Different writers develop their characters differently. However, the following tips can help you develop your characters.
1. Start with the personality
Once you define the personality of a character, it is very easy to know how they will look like. You will be able to carve and pick vices and virtues, qualities and flaws. Do not aim at achieving perfect characters as they are not interesting. When it comes to antagonists and protagonists, they are neither a 100% bad nor 100% good, as they aren’t fully bad or good people.
Most of a story’s power comes from the opinions and feelings that characters have for and against one another. Let characters gossip and fight among themselves.
Go for round characters instead of perfectionism. Do this by taking details and notes from people in real life-mannerisms, funny habits and what makes a person human.
2. Work on and develop the appearance of a character
What is their eye color, hair color, skin color, shape of their face or nose, blood type and whether they have scars or birthmarks somewhere on their bodies.
3. Give a name that you believe fits
In most cases, this is the first step although it depends on how you work. Does the name have a meaning? Does it show the personality of the character? It is important to know that names are sometimes relevant to the genre/setting.
4. Flesh them out
Think of background and hobbies. What is their job? Rood repair or magician? How do they relate with their family and the society at large? How do they carry themselves when around authority? What do they like wearing? What do they love and hate?
5. Give them strong opinions
Most writers shy away from giving their characters strong opinions as they don’t like overbearing themselves. Overbearing can be a big flaw, but when writing fiction, flaws are good. Let your characters have flaws that can be fatal. Let her have a tendency of losing her temper and let her do something she will leave to regret. It is the only way to capture the attention of your readers and keep them curious to know what happened at the end of the story.
6. Consider a game of risk
Make a character risk something or make a sacrifice for another. Many classics, spiritual scriptures, modern tales and myths exploit the heart clutching moment of a character risking his life-or even dying-to save others. Readers need to know that a character won’t abandon another even when his/her life is at stake. As such, let a character be ready to die for another and put him/her in a good position to do so. It is a sure way of ensuring your readers miss work to read your work.
7. Make a hypotenuse
Add a triangle. Lets your characters have dyadic relationships but not to the point of excluding other complex ones. Consider having a sturdy hypotenuse with your two main characters but add a third one to make it more complex. The third character mustn’t be a human being-it can be an animal, addiction, obligation, call to adventure, and a career-just anything that gets between the cozy relationship of your two main characters.
8. Let your characters be full of surprises
Let them surprises everyone, including you, as this is the only way to take your story somewhere. It is a great way of making your story to appear real as even imaginary characters are reluctant of living in a fully determined world.
Developing your characters is key to the success of your story. It is therefore important to note that character development is an ongoing process as you can never finish creating and improving your characters. Characters, just like real people, undergoes change and do not stay the same. Enjoy the process and be creative with it.