When characters are written well, you run the risk of reading an entire novel without once giving thought to how those characters were created. You’ll simply enjoy meeting new people, page after page. One might be melodramatic, another might be stoic, and while another might be so humorous that you crack a smile at every smart quip or one-liner they deliver.
Well-crafted characters are the building blocks to your story. They are its’ DNA. The life of your novel will be dictated by how your characters interact with each other and the driving force of that interaction will be rooted in their individual personalities. Keeping this in mind, you should take the time to develop your characters, one by one.
Pay particular attention to what makes each of them different. As your characters interact with each other, those differences will cause them hate or love each other. They will become friends, lovers or enemies. Your characters will choose to build a world together, or destroy the world, a brick at a time.
Yes…character development is a VERY important element and the success of your story will depend on it. But I caution you to not over complicate the process. I’ve come across a simple tool that will help you flesh out multidimensional characters that will serve as the aforementioned building blocks. I found it while looking over many of the different websites I’ve used over the years. While I don’t know who created it, I’m including the link to the site below.
I love this device because it breaks down character development by urging the writer to remember the 5 P’s.
Take a look at the link and examine the simple chart that will walk you through how to think about each aspect of your character. It is quick to read through and easy to digest.
If you are currently writing or revamping a previously written novel, I would suggest you start mapping out a number of your characters. Start with the following:
(If the following exist)
- Protagonist’s sidekick or best friend
- Antagonist’s sidekick
- Protagonist’s love interest
- The Mentor (for either the protagonist or antagonist)
Once you’ve sketched these characters out, send it to me in a message. I’ll happily give you some feedback! Let’s see how dynamic you can get. Stay away from carbon copy characters. Like with past blog posts, you want conflict. And nothing drives conflict like characters that are opposed to each other, even to the point of being irreconcilable.