Character Development: Build Characters Step-by-Step (Character Writing, Creative Writing, Novels) | Andrew Kayson | Skillshare

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Character Development: Build Characters Step-by-Step (Character Writing, Creative Writing, Novels)

teacher avatar Andrew Kayson, Creative Writing Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (1h 7m)
    • 1. Introduction - Character Development

      1:28
    • 2. Chapter 1: The Basics

      15:52
    • 3. Chapter 2: What Makes a Character Great

      9:28
    • 4. Chapter 3: Character Building Step-by-Step

      19:29
    • 5. Chapter 4: Creating Expression

      9:11
    • 6. Chapter 5: Bringing Your Character to Life

      10:22
    • 7. Conclusion - Character Development

      1:38
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About This Class

Need to Breathe Life into Your Characters?

You may have a great story but if your characters are flat and uninteresting your readers will find your story dull. If your lead protagonist isn’t generating empathy, then no one cares what happens to them. Character Development covers every aspect of character building; from developing charismatic and believable people, to making sure they work holistically to drive the narrative forward in realistic ways.


Know Your Anti-Hero from Your Antagonist

In order to create compelling characters your readers will love, Kayson introduces you to 12-character types and explains how and when they are introduced to a story. He demonstrates the importance of instilling flaws to create a balance of human qualities that evolve throughout the novel in captivating ways.


Make Unforgettable Characters

Character Development is a much-needed step-by-step guide to help authors create remarkable protagonists and to decide which characters are necessary to the plot. Kayson delivers a groundbreaking 176 questions to consider while creating characters. An author need never struggle again to generate memorable heroes and villains!

10 Samples of the 176 Character-Forming Questions:

  1. When communicating, what is the pace that this person communicates with?
  2. What posture do they tend to have?
  3. What does their average day look like? Be specific.
  4. What is the most significant event that took place in your character’s childhood?
  5. If your character does have a criminal record, how did they get it and where were they when the event happened?
  6. How is your character perceived by strangers?
  7. How does your character react to people who challenge them?
  8. Does your character have any psychological issues such as phobias, mental illnesses, or otherwise?
  9. What does your character value and prioritize the most? (i.e., family, religion, friends, fun, money, success, etc.)
  10. If anything is stopping your character from achieving their goals, what is it?

By using some, or all of these questions an author will no longer create one-dimensional characters and will have readers gripped throughout their trials and tribulations.


Inspires New Connections

There will be many thought-provoking subjects for both beginner and experienced authors that will motivate a much deeper conception of characters, some of which include:

  • How Characters are Presented & Revealed
  • Creating Expression
  • Let Your Characters Suffer
  • Bringing Characters to Life
  • Use Contradictions
  • Listen to Them
  • Give Your Characters Plenty of Opportunity to Show Up


One Click Away from Getting Amazing Results Fast!

A must for storytellers who want to create lasting characters that tug at the heart of readers’ emotions and deliver BIG on compelling drama. Create enthralling characters that bring the page to life!

Meet Your Teacher

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Andrew Kayson

Creative Writing Teacher

Teacher

Andrew Kayson is the teacher of the "Creative Writing" course series. He was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Black Ltd. and writes a popular blog on Creative Writing. Kayson turned to teaching several years ago to fulfil his life dream of educating students on the topic of Creative Writing. He lives in New York City.

See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction - Character Development: Introduction, Welcome to character development. This guide will help you with the very aspect of character building. From creating the basic structure for your character, to designing their personality and even helping develop them alongside the development of your story. Everything you will learn within this guide will ensure you that you're equipped with all the knowledge you need in order to create characters that are compelling and that your readers can fall in love with. If you followed the previous guides from your series, then you will know just how important your characters are to your story. This guide will provide you with all of the knowledge you need in order to help create strong characters that will move your story forward and assist you in building the powerful and important emotional attachment between your reader and your characters. Each chapter within this guide will provide you with part of the character building process. Within that part, you'll be given step-by-step instructions so that you can easily create the best characters possible, knowing that they had been designed with every necessary feature to make them powerful additions and tools for your storytelling process. Without further ado, feel free to dive into the character building experience. Enjoy. 2. Chapter 1: The Basics: Chapter 1, the basics. It is no secret how important characters are to your story? They are the individuals that the story is about. Therefore, they're responsible for the story itself. They help you create the story, move the story forward, and introduce change and other action along the way. Without characters, there would be virtually no way for you to design a story. Before we explore how you can build your own characters, we're going to explore the basics and important features of characters. This will help you understand more about why characters are so important and why you need them. It will also give you a foundational understanding of each unique style of character and how they can serve your story overall. Why characters are important. Stories are essentially created through verbal or written recollections of events that took place. And literally work, thoughts, choices, words, consequences and actions are all important elements that are responsible for contributing to the bloodline. Naturally, these qualities must be expressed in some form or manner. Since these are human qualities, it makes sense then that they would be expressed to a human-based character. Alternatively, such as in children's stories, they may be expressed through animal characters that possess human-like qualities. Characters are important tools used by authors and writers to move stories forward. These are the personalities that give them power to add to the element of thought, action, words, choices, consequences into the book. Without characters, they would essentially be describing a scene whereby nothing would be happening. Because there would be no one for it to happen too, for, or as a result of in order to establish themselves as useful tools that are used to move the plot forward, characters can be broken down into 12 categories. You will learn more about each of these categories in the next section. However, it is important to understand that each of these categories was designed to help create powerful and usable tools that writers can call on to help them progress the story forward. Types of characters. When you read a novel, you may be surprised to know that characters go a lot deeper than you think. And the novel, you watch the characters evolve and new ones come and go along the way. But you may not understand how much actually goes into the development of these characters. When authors wanted to create a story that has a great deal of depth and can easily be believed as a real life person, it is important that they understand the different types of characters that exist and how they can serve their story. Naturally, fiction characters are made up while they may be completely based on real people or have certain features borrowed from people that the author knows in real life, there are still made up characters. This is how the author is able to use them to build and move the story along because the characters can be used to achieve any outcome the Arthur desires to create. The following character styles will introduce you to 12 different types of characters that exist within stories. By understanding each unique type of character, you can see how they can serve your story. Furthermore, you can decide what style each character will be designed in, which will make it easier for you to discover the guidelines for creating the said character in the long run. Major or central characters are characters that the story revolves around. These are the primary characters within the story. And there are crucial to the development of the story itself. These are the characters who are present with the conflicts and who are responsible for executing the resolutions. Almost every part of the entire novel will revolve around these particular characters. They are often the main character, as well as that character's friends and family, or co-workers, or anyone else who will be used as a recurring character within the story. These are some of the most important characters within your novel because without them, you will not have a story to tell. You want to emphasize your development on these characters to make sure that they're realistic, believable, and relatable to your readers. Minor characters, characters that are used to serve the major and the central characters. These characters have a positive role in helping to move the plot forward and often have as much depth as the major characters do. They're only considered minor characters, however, because they don't tend to recur as frequently as the major characters well. And they're not a part of the central story. For example, they may be a sister that lives on another continent, but comes to visit for a short time, or even a few times for the duration of the novel. Alternatively, it may be a few coworkers that recur here and there, but are not part of the central theme or the majority of the major plot points. These are important characters because they help provide realistic depth to the book by broadening the scope of characters without taking complete attention away from the major characters themselves. Dynamic characters is a phrase used to represent characters that change over the course of the novel. Virtually anyone who changes his or her personality, belief system, morals or values, or even simply matures over the course of the novel is considered a dynamic character. These characters typically evolve for reasons primarily relating to the central theme of the book, such as the central conflict or a major crisis that they face that ultimately contributes to the book's overall theme. Dynamic characters are not necessarily any one group of characters themselves. However, they can be virtually any character within the book. Static characters are the exact opposite of dynamic characters. These ones do not change over the course of the story. Instead, they remain the same, completely unchanged. Static characters are not suitable to be major characters because they do not help progresses story in a serve the long creative change. Instead, static characters are usually minor characters. These characters still provide the author with the opportunity to use them as tools to spark change in the main characters. But they're not always required to change and story for the successful progression of the story. Round characters. Round characters are unlike dynamic characters and unlike static characters altogether, these characters are ones that feature highly complex personalities. They may experience frequent conflicts or they may even contradict themselves on a regular basis. These characters are also rarely used as major characters because the required personality type does not serve as a powerful foundation to generate a dynamic and moving character. Flat characters. Unlike round characters, flat characters are typically notable for one single personality trait. This characteristic is one that should be primary as a defining factor. Influence and expression that's used by the character. When you're creating a flat character. They are often much like the static character. And similar to static characters, they're not suitable for the central characters because this personality does not provide the author with the opportunity to generate a moving enough character that will lead someone through a plot line. Stock character. Stock characters are considered to be stereotypical characters that are almost expected in certain stories. For example, a cynical but moral private I, mad scientists and faithful sidekicks are all start characters. These are all people that you would expect to be present in certain books. They generate the name stock character because of repetitive use in certain story types and structures, these characters typically have flat personalities, but may also have rounded personalities. In some cases, they are a great element to add to your story because they give the reader something that they can identify with and expect, as well as someone that helps them feel like they can better relate to the story. It is a great way to give your reader a point to engage with through providing them with a familiar presence. Protagonist is the word used to describe the central character in your story. This is the primary character that the story follows. They are at the center of your central characters and they provide the main storyline. Most people call this the main character. And they are identified as the most important role in the story. To most, although this is not entirely true, although this person is the reason the story exists, they are not the only one responsible for moving the plot forward. Therefore, they're not the most important role. Still, they're highly important. This character should be dynamic and well-developed, as this will be the one-year reader is going to follow most. Although the protagonist may not be the most likable character, there are ones that should be used in order to command the reader experiences emotionally, particularly empathy for them. This way they can be used to draw the story forward and keep the reader engaged along the way. Antagonist is the word used to describe either a character or a situation that operates against the protagonist. This is the opposition and the oppressive force that is trying to stop or otherwise hinder the success of the protagonist. This is the obstacle the protagonist faces that they must find the strength, knowledge, and power to overcome if they're going to generate a successful happy ending story. As mentioned in the beginning, the antagonists can be a character or a situation. They can also be both. Even if you're using a situation instead of a character for your antagonistic force, you still want to go through the effort of making it well-developed so that the reader can believe it and understand why it is such a threat to the protagonist and their stakes. Anti-hero is a word used to describe a character that presents itself in certain stories. This is usually the protagonist. And they are called the anti-hero because they possess many features that make them unlikeable. They may have questionable morals, negative behavioral traits, or other characteristics that are not typically admired by the average person. This person may be the kind of individual that your reader would never want to associate with or root for. But still, they are the center of the story. And they find themselves following them and feeling empathy for this character when certain events happen. Writing an anti-hero protagonists can be difficult. But if you can master it, it is a great practice to help you increase your ability to generate empathy and emotional attachments between readers and your characters. Foil characters are those who have personalities and characteristics that often clash with other central characters in the novel. These characters may be used to represent the antagonist or a supporting character. They are designed by creating a character who has qualities that contrast the protagonist character or another important character within the story line. This contrast may seem unimportant, but from a writer's perspective, it provides you with the opportunity to highlight certain characteristics about your protagonist or other central characters by emphasizing the differences between them and the foil character. Symbolic characters are ones that are used to resemble major parts of society through one character. These characters may be any major or minor character within your story, so long as the entire purpose of the character is to highlight a certain aspect of society through their actions, beliefs, and values. How characters are presented and revealed. Presenting and revealing characters is your opportunity to teach your reader who the character is and what they're all about. This is where you get the ability to introduce them to different characteristics and traits that the reader should know about the character. And how these traits contribute to the way that the character ties into the storyline. They are only two ways that you can present your characters to your readers, either through direct or indirect presentation. Direct presentation is the method you use when you're directly telling your readers about who the character is. For example, if you were to write, presenting to you Christopher Adams, a self-righteous, ignorant, and exploitative agent who preys on his clients for their money. And this circumstance, you're directly telling your reader who Christopher Adams is and what is most outstanding traits are. You can also do it in a more positive light, such as meat Mary willows, a school teacher who spends her time eating peanut butter sandwiches and teaching preschoolers how to count to five. She's always bright and cheery and we'll put a smile on your face faster than even a puppy could. In essence, direct presentation is described as any type of presentation you make whereby you tell the reader what they need to. Now, indirect presentation is naturally the exact opposite of direct presentation. That is the tactic you use when you leave it up to the reader to get to know a character through his or her words, thoughts, and actions. They get to know this person through what they say and do throughout the book, allowing them to generate their own theories on who this character is. Still, you use their words and actions to help you create the overall illusion as to what makes the character who they are. This form of presentation is very similar to the natural way we get to know people, since we're not given direct answers when we meet people. And instead we have to learn about them based on what they say and do. Unlike direct presentation, indirect presentation is the tactic used when authors allow readers to formulate judgments and opinions on characters without ever telling them about the quality traits that these characters have. Sometimes the reader will know exactly who the character is in their judgment is right. And other times they will be proven wrong over the course of the book. To make it easier for you to use these two presentation methods to introduce who your characters are. We have compiled a list of 11 basic ways that you can present your characteristics, your readers. This list is compiled to provide examples of both direct and indirect presentation methods. You can also use it to test to see if you determination on which could be direct in which could be indirect, so that you can better understand how both of these presentation styles work. One, present your character by having them saying things in a particular way. To present your character by having them say certain things. Three, present your character by providing insight into their environment. For present your character by exploring what they think. Five, present your character by providing a physical description of them. Six, present your character by providing a psychological description of them. Seven, present your character by telling readers what other people say or think about them. Eight, present your character by having them do certain things. 9, present your character by having them do things in a particular way. Ten, present your character by the way that they react to others actions and words. 11, present your character by the way that they react to their own actions and words. 3. Chapter 2: What Makes a Character Great: Chapter 2. What makes a character Great? Since you're researching how to make characters for your novel, let's assume that you don't want to make a good character. Instead, you want to make a great character. You want to make the kind of character that people are eager to read more about. This character is one that the reader can somehow attached to. It also gives you the best tool to help you move your story forward, regardless of what type of character you are creating. Some of these techniques should be used on all characters, while others only need to be used on a few, which you will learn about as you read on. Still, every character in your novel is important to the storyline itself. Therefore, they all need to be great characters. This chapter will help you identify exactly what is required in order for you to be able to do just that. Have characters that are likeable. While not all of your characters have to be likable. Mini should be your protagonist, for example, should be a likable character unless you're spinning them off as an anti-hero. Having likable characters in your book will make people have an easier ability to emotionally connect to your characters. Just as you would prefer to spend time with and invest your energy in people you like in real life. When people read them also like to invest their energy and attention into characters that they like. At least a few of your characters should be likable so that your reader feels as though they can relate to the character and generate some form of emotional attachment and relationship. But the character is they read your story. As you're creating likable characters, however, avoid making them saint like. You don't want to have a character that's too likable or features little to no flaws. Because this actually goes back in the opposite direction. It takes away from the realistic values of your character and makes them seem unapproachable, which ironically it makes them unlikeable. So avoid trying to make your characters to likable or people won't like them. Instead, create a realistic character who has believable flaws that are enough to balance out their likable qualities so that they still are likable while also being realistic and relatable. Characters that are not likable. In addition to having characters that are likable, you need to have ones that aren't. Any real life story would include people who are not liked by the protagonist and who may be unlikeable in general. These are the ones whose flaws outweigh their good traits. They're still human. Therefore, they still naturally have some good qualities to them. But overall, they're not likable as a person. And a typical story, this is your antagonist, but it doesn't always have to be. Furthermore, you can have more people who are unlikable, such as someone who's related to or close to the protagonist. Using unlikable characters helps to balance out the number of likable characters you have. Thus making the story sound more relatable and realistic. Again, you don't want to create a character that's two unlikable or people aren't going to believe it. Typically, even the worst people have some positive characteristics to them that make them worth having empathy for. Even if we don't tend to like them in general, making sure that you keep your unlikable character is Human by giving them some characteristics that make them seem as though they could be likable in some way or another. Even if only a little. Make your characters good at what they do. Even though your character is particularly your protagonist should face difficulties and come to the end of their rope once or twice before finally succeeding. They should still succeed in the end. Furthermore, they should be good at what they do, even if it isn't always enough to get them to a full success. For example, they should be a phenomenal secret agent that is exposed to acts of God that make it impossible for them to capture the band guy. Until finally things go right and they succeed at last. Even if they make mistakes from time to time, or they struggled to be the best here in there. They should typically be good at what they do. If they aren't, people are going to wonder why they are even trying to begin with it and make the story unlikable. Think about stories such as the James Bond ones. If James Bond were to fail every mission he ever set out to accomplish, it would not make for a good story. People may laugh their way through one show, but it would not last. And they certainly wouldn't have many different movies based on this hero. Likewise, your heroic character should be good at what they do and they should be worthy of your reader cheering them on for the duration of the story. And give your character is a strong charisma. Having characters that are charismatic increases their likability. It doesn't normally dry in other characters, but it draws in the reader as well. While charisma, as far as good lucks can be a beneficial factor, this is more about their qualities. Make them someone who lights up the room when they walk in it. Maybe they are particularly happy or they always have a good joke to share. Or maybe they're great at contemplating others and making them feel good about themselves. Whatever way you choose to build charisma in the character, make sure you take the time to actually establish it. Remember, you want likable characters and charisma is one great way to create a character that can be liked. The more drawn into the character your reader is, the more invested there'll become in your overall story. Have dynamic characters. Characters that love to take driven action and grow alongside your flatline are great when it comes to building a strong book. As you know, it's good to have your protagonist as a dynamic character. However, you should consider adding a few other dynamic characters as well. Having the antagonistic character as well as supporters of both the protagonist and antagonist being designed, means that you have plenty of opportunities to pursue actions in your story. And also makes the story much more relatable and realistic. When you're creating dynamic characters, know that not every character in your story needs to be dynamic. And fact, it's better to have a strong balance between dynamic and static characters. Remember, in real life, we have a little bit of everything. If you can look at your own life, there are likely people who have never changed or who haven't been in your life story long enough for you to recognize a change. And then there are those who've grown drastically since you met them. Just like in real life, your book needs to have a healthy mixture of both as well. This will ensure that your reader feels as though your story is compelling and enjoyable. Let your characters suffer. Some of the novels are going to require your characters to suffer conflicts. Complex issues in various situations would lead any normal person facing the experience of suffering in life on their own. The same goes for your characters. If someone dies, let the character suffer. Allow them to feel their suffering. If they lose something, something doesn't go their way. Are there otherwise facing challenges, allow them to experience some suffering alongside those challenges. This makes them more believable and relatable. Furthermore, it draws your reader's emotions into the story even more. Letting your character suffer somewhat is a great way to build empathy from your reader to your character. Once your reader has empathy, they're much more likely to care about what's next for your character. They want to see the character do well, and they are eager to see them win. So the reader roots even more for your character. You can build on this throughout the story by introducing just a few different instances of suffering. Just as with everything, make sure you don't go overboard and have too much suffering or the book will be too depressing and unbelievable to read. Know your character intimately. It's important that you know your character intimately, even more intimately than your reader's error. Well, even though they need to know them intimately as well, when you know your characters intimately, you can easily talk about them, share their story, and give insight into their inner world. This is because you know how they would think, speak, act, and react in various situations. You also know their preferences, dislikes, likes, and other important characteristics about them. Think about someone that you know well. You've likely known someone at 1 or another in your life so well that you know exactly what they would do or say in most situations. This is how intimately you need to know your characters. As this is the intimacy that will allow you to write about them in any and every situation that will arise throughout your novel, you should know exactly how that person would respond to everything you throw their way so that you can create a realistic and believable character. This is what takes your character from a profile on paper to a real person in your fiction novel. 4. Chapter 3: Character Building Step-by-Step: Chapter three, character building step by step. Now that you are clear on why characters are important, the basics about characters and what makes a character of great instead of just good, you're ready to start actually building your characters. As you go through this chapter, keep what you have already learned in mind as it will help you stay focused and create successful characters along the way. In this chapter, you're going to discover step-by-step guidance for picking whom you want to cast in your book, as well as how you can develop each character so that they swerve your book in a powerful and profound way. Depending on what type of character you're working towards developing, you'll discover a guide to help you develop that kind of character. This will ensure that each character is developed enough to be useful in your novel. But that you weren't wasting your time over developing characters that do not require it, such as minor static characters. Choosing your cast. Before you begin developing your characters, you need to decide which characters you want to cast in your book. That is, you need to decide how many characters you're going to need to actually write the book. While you may find that some additional ones come up, or you feel naturally called to pull in new characters along the way. You should start out with a pretty strong idea as to whom your central minor and other characters are going to be from the beginning. Anyone who's going to be essential to your central story should be outlined and developed before you begin writing. This will ensure that you know exactly how and when to present them and their presentation is natural and strong based on their unique character, enroll in the novel. The best way to choose how many characters you need for your novel is to refer back to your story structure and outline. Looking at your story structure and outline will give you the opportunity to consider each major plot point. As you do, consider which character should be present for the plot point, as well as which ones are unnecessary for it. Take your time and work through the plot, picking out characters as you go. Once you have, take a look at the in-between parts to, for example, in-between major plot points, you may need additional characters to keep the story flowing, such as people in line at the bank or a cashier at a local grocer. This is the best way to determine what kind of characters you need in your novel. And we'll have we well, on your way to a strong character roster. Once you determine which characters are needed for the plot, you want to get more specific about them. First, make sure that you haven't picked too many characters. A book with too many characters can be overwhelming and can lead to your reader for getting who he is. However, you want to make sure that you have enough that you can make it feel like real life. The best way to make sure that you have enough characters and not too few or too many, is to make sure that every single character you choose to create is essential to the story itself. Then you need to decide what kind of character they're going to be. Are they going to be a major character or a minor character? Additionally, will they be round, flat? Static or dynamic. Pay attention to these features as they will help you determine how to create them. Creating your characters. Central characters are the main characters in your novel. They include the protagonist, the antagonist, and any other characters that are regularly involved in the plot, including major plot scenes. When you're creating central characters, you want to go heavily into depth about who they are and why they are that way. Below, you will find several categories filled with questions. Answering these questions will help you answer about who your character is, which will help you develop them and learn a great deal of information about them. This way, get to know them intimately and write about them effortlessly. Characters, general information. What's your character's name? Do they have a nickname? If so, what is the story behind it, and who gave it to them? Do they like their nickname? What is their birthday? Where were they born? What ethnicity are they? That they have any religious views? Do they practice their religion? Where do they currently live? Be specific with their address. They rent the place or own it. Briefly describe the home. Does anyone else live with them? What is it like where they live? Do they like living there? If not, why not? Where would they rather be? What type of home decor do they have? I0 expensive, neat, inexpensive, comfortable. What is the first impression someone would have to their home? Do they have pets? If not, why not? If they do, what kind? What are their names and how many? How did they treat their pets? What job do they presently have? Our longer they had it for. And where's their job located? Do they like their job? How much money do they make? What educational background do they have? Do they drive? If so, what kind of vehicle do they have? Be specific? What is their sexuality? Are they in a romantic relationship with anyone? If so, who and for how long? Do they have any previous romantic partners that are significant to the story? What do they call their current spouse, IE nicknames. Where did they meet their spouse? Do they have any children? Give specific details if they do, like age, birthday, gender, name, who the parents are. If they have children, describe the relationship they share with each child. Physical appearance. How tall is the character? What do they weigh? What body type that they have? Skinny, curvy, overweight, athletic. What color? Their eyes, that they use, glasses, contacts or hearing aids, or any other type of medical devices. What does their skin tone? Do? They have any prominent features that one might notice about them? Freckles, birthmark scar, tattoos. What does their face shape? Whom do they look similar to? What is their overall health like? That they have a chronic illness or condition. Are their current health problems that they're facing. How do they dress? Including cost range of clothes and specific style. Do they dress to be noticed or just to be dressed? Do they wear any special or significant pieces of jewelry or accessories? How does this character approach their grooming habits? Extremely neat, unkempt. Why did they groom themselves this way? What hairstyle does this character have? What is the natural hair texture for this character? If they typically groom their hair for a different texture, what is it? What is their natural hair color? If they dye their hair, What color is it now? Communication. When communicating, what is the pace that this person communicates with? What tone of voice do they have? Do they have any words that tend to use or favor in general conversation? What are their vocabulary patterns? What is their demeanor when communicating? What posture do they tend to have? Do they use gestures frequently in communication? If so, how often? What are their common body languages and gestures, daily behaviors and habits? How does this character manage their finances? Do they acquire any of their finances illegally? If so, how do they have any personal habits that may be based on addictions? Drinking, smoking, gambling. What's their morning routine? Be specific. What is their average day look like? That they ever have lunch in any particular spot? What is your character's dinner routine? What does your character do after-dinner? What is your character's bedtime routine? Does your character have any skills or talents? If so, do they share them or are they hidden and are kept private? What does your character unskilled at or bad at? How did they feel about these flaws? Do they have any hobbies? Character's past. Whereas your characters hometown. What was their childhood like? That? They remember it. What is their earliest memory? What is their saddest memory? What is their happiest memory? Did your character attend school? If so, how much did they enjoy school? Why or why not? What's the most significant event that took place in your characters childhood. Did they have any other significant childhood events? What past jobs have they had that are significant to them? They have a criminal record. If your character does have a criminal record, how did they get it? And where were they when the event happened? Did they get any convictions or sentences? Did they serve time? Who was the first person that your character loved? When was their first sexual experience? Do think and look back on it as a positive memory or a negative one. As your character experienced any major accidents or traumas in their life? If so, how has that affected them? Family tree. Who is your character's mother? What is her full name? Is she alive or deceased? What is or was the mothers occupation? What is the relationship that your character shares with their mother? Who is your character's father? What is his full name? Is he alive or deceased? What is or was the father's occupation? What is the relationship that your character shares with their father? Does the character have any additional parental figures such as the step parent, foster parents, adoptive parents, biological parents, or even an adult who was of parental influence in their life, such as a close family friend, if they were adopted, do they know about it? Does your character have any siblings? If so, list them by age and birth order, including their names and how they are related to the character. Ie, full sibling, step siblings, half sibling. What type of relationship does your character share with each of their siblings? Does your character have any nieces or nephews? If so, what are their relationships like? Do they have any in-laws? If so, what are their relationships like? Who else is a part of the character's family that is significant to the story. Aside from those already listed relationships, who is your character's best are closest friend. How long do they know each other and where did they meet? Do they have any other close friends? If so, how long is your character known them, and where did they meet? How is your character perceived by their friends? How is your character perceived by strangers? How was your character perceived by their spouse or a lover? How is your character perceived by their past spouses or lovers? How does your character perceived by their children, if they have any Alma's, your character perceived by their other family members? How is your character perceived by the opposite sex? How was your character perceived by children in general? How is your character perceived by others who have more success than them? How is your character perceived by others who have less success than them? How is your character perceived by their boss if they have one? How was your character proceeded by their coworkers? How is your character proceeds by their competitors? How is your character perceived by authorities, police, doctors or attorneys? How does your character react to people who challenge them? How does your character react to people who anger them? How does your character react to people who asked for help? What do others tend to like most about your character? What did they like least are considered to be the characters biggest flaw. Does this character have any secret attractions to others? If so, have they been explored? In romantic relationships? Is your character typically faithful or unfaithful? If they're unfaithful, does their partners know it? What do they like during sexual encounters? Inhibited in shy or outgoing and wild? Does this change over the course of the story of their life? If so, why? Who does your character like the least that of everyone in the story? Why? Who is your character like the most that have everyone in the story? Why? Who does your character considered to be the most important person in their life right now? And why did they feel this way? Who was your character romantically attracted to at the moment? And why? Who is your character's role model or idle? Y. And are they famous or not? Who does your character consider to be their enemy? If anyone who does your character tend to miss judge or misunderstand the most, who tends to misunderstand or misjudge your character of the most. Is there anyone whom your character is lost touch with within their lifetime who were significant to them? If so, why and how has it affected your character? What was the worst ending to a relationship your character has had? Romantic or otherwise? Who do they typically rely on when it comes to receiving advice? Who does your character tend to rely on when it comes to emotional support? Who does your character support, either emotionally or with advice? The most. Attitude and belief. Does your character have any psychological issues such as phobias, mental illness, or otherwise? Do they tend to be optimistic or pessimistic? The, you know, the Myers-Briggs personality type for your character. This can give a lot of information about how they would react and respond in a variety of situations. When is your character the most comfortable in life? When drinking, when with other people or with alone? When are they the least comfortable when publicly speaking in certain locations around certain people or when drinking. And does your character tend to be cautious, reckless, or brave in how they approach their life. What does your character value and prioritize the most? Who does your character loved the best? What or who with your character be willing to die for? How does your character tend to be toward others? Compassionate, arrogant, selfish, or sensitive? What is the personal philosophy? If your character, what is your character most embarrassed about? What is their greatest wish? Do they have any prejudices against other people? If so, what and why? What are their political beliefs that they believe in any superstitions, fate or destiny? What is the greatest strength that your character possesses? What is the greatest weakness that your character possesses? What other positive or strong characteristics does your character possess? What other negative or weak characteristics does your character possess? What is your character favor most about their own attributes, both physical and personality wise. What does your character despise most about their own attributes? Are these feelings accurate? Or are they over or under played? How does your character think other people perceive them? Is this accurate? What does your character regret the most in life? Do they have any other regrets? What are the biggest secrets that your character has? Does anyone else know about these secrets? If so, who? How did they react in a crisis? What tends to cause the most problems in their life? How did they react to change? That they have any quirks? What would your character like to change about themselves the most? Give a short paragraph of the character describing themselves to others. What are their short-term goals? What are their long-term goals? That they have any plans to achieve their goals or do they believe that they're out of reach? How would others be affected by your character reaching these goals? Do this affects matter to your character? If anything is stopping your character from achieving their goals. What is it? What are they actively working to protect, keep, or gain? What event or situation to the most fear or dread being in what person with your character want to be. If they could be anyone? Who would they absolutely not want to be. Likes and favorites. What is your character's favorite food? What is your character's favorite drink? What color did they like the most? Do they have a favorite book, but they have a favorite film? What song or music genre do they prefer? That they watch TV? If so, what do they watch? Does your character have a favorite sport? Does your character have a motto or a quote that they like? What do they like to hang out or spend most of their time? What do they own? That is their favorite possession. This list may seem extremely exhausting, but trust that all this information will help you get to know your character intimately. Once you have the answers to all these questions, you will know your character so well that it will be effortless for you to write about them and their natural evolution over the course of your novel. Do your best to fill in the entire questionnaire so that you have plenty of material to write on and that nothing is left up to chance. A writer who has extremely strong characters is one who knows their character so well that they could easily answer any of these questions about them. Keep your character profile handy so that you can refer back to it during the writing process as needed. A word on minor characters. Naturally, you don't need to have an elaborate profile for your minor characters. Instead, go through the list and pick the questions that you feel relate most Dao the character fits in the story. For example, if it's a friend from high-school that your protagonist sees once or twice during the entire book. You likely don't need to include much. You may want to fill out the general section, the past section, and the likes and favorite section. Even then, it may not be necessary for you to fill out the entire thing. When it comes to designing minor characters, use your judgment to create a character that has depth without wasting your time developing a character further than you actually need for the benefit of your overall book. 5. Chapter 4: Creating Expression: Chapter 4, creating expression. How your character expresses themselves is a really important part of how they contribute to the story itself. Their expression is ultimately how your character conveys themselves to others. This will be how they express their thoughts and opinions and how they portray themselves to others, to interpret them, and who they are. You want to make sure that just like with your character development, you develop how your character expresses themselves as well. While this part will not go into as elaborate of a guide as the previous chapter did. We will explore various ways that you can create an expression for your character, as well as for all the characters within the book as a whole. Catchphrases. Having characters have their own catchphrase is a great way to build an expression in your character and give them a unique voice. This should be a catchphrase that only one character uses. Even though other characters may sometimes paraphrase that character to be funny or to otherwise quote them. Still, it should be known that this phrase is unique to that specific character. Don't overuse catch phrases in your book, or it'll take away from the value of them. Ideally, only one or maybe two characters should have a catchphrase in your book. Also, avoid it being the main character unless they are going to use the catchphrase from time to time. The catchphrase is a great way to give foreshadowing effects, but with too many, it can take away and just sound cheesy or poorly written. Group-specific slang words. If you look at most friend groups in real life, they have their own way of speaking. This way of speaking often includes their own selection of slang words. If you want to increase the expression and voice of your overall group, as well as each character that is a part of it, seek to make slang words or group mottos that are used by everyone in the group. However, make sure that none of the slang or mottos are anywhere close to the one character's catchphrase or you'll confuse the reader. Instead, simply choose expressions in terms that this group will speak in, that others like we don't. This makes them unique and gives them a very realistic feel, since this is completely natural behavior in real life to other worldly slang. If you're writing a fantasy book that takes your characters to another world, consider using otherworldly slang. You have made up in order to help set them apart. And a group, each person speaks differently from one another. Just as how each individual in a country, or likely the entire world speaks differently. You likely wouldn't go to a different planet. And here everyone speaking in typical American dialect. For that reason, it's a good idea to create and include otherworldly phrases and slang that helped the reader differentiate the characters. Gender specific phrases. If you ever pay attention to a real life crowd, men and women tend to express themselves and extremely. You can bring this type of gender-specific expression into your novel. And in fact, you should. By including as many different unique element of expression in your novel as you can. You make the novel more believable and your readers have an easier time relating to it. While you don't have to use gender stereotypes to create the expressions between each gender. You should make it clear that there are two different genders speaking and expressing themselves. If you need inspiration, spend some time with a group of males, and then spend some time with a group of females. And you will see the differences if you want to take it even further afterwards, spend some time with a mixed group. And you'll still notice that each gender expresses themselves differently even in front of the other sex. Career and industry jargon. People in different careers and industries typically speak in tongues. They have industry and career specific jargon that they use when they're talking to other colleagues. When you're building characters who have jobs, careers, or are heavily involved in certain industries, make sure that you include some jargon from that job, career, or industry in their vocabulary. And the real world, people would naturally pick up on and use this jargon. Therefore, your character should to body language. It's no secret that body language is a major part of how we communicate with others and express ourselves. Use body language in your book too. If characters are feeling attacked or bullied and they're feeling particularly lower closed off. Have them standing with a closed expression, such as with their arms crossed and sculpting away from the attacker. If the character is happy, have them standing tall and proud with their body casual, but a bright smile on their face. Using body language as a means to help your characters communicate on even a more advanced level, will help you when it comes to expressing your characters. While you don't need to explain their body language at every moment, a good idea is to introduce what they look like when they're feeling neutral. And then only talk about their body language If it is vastly different from what it would be when they're in a neutral state. If you're unsure about what body language people would be using when they're talking or when they're feeling different things. Consider briefly studying it. There are many online print resources available that are made specifically to help people further understand body language. Knowing it more intimately may help you when it comes to helping your character express themselves. Sometimes when you're creating certain scenes, body language can speak more to the reader and other characters than the communicating characters, other words, well, for example, if the character is lying to someone else, words telling a lie while their body exposes the truth about them lying. Maybe they are telling a lie, and in the meantime, they are sweating and they have shoved their hands into their pockets. Body language can teach people a lot about what's truly going on in your character's mind, beyond what they say. So be sure to use it at the appropriate times for greater expression. Dialect. Make sure that your characters dialect is true to where they come from. If they are from the Southern states, for example, have them use a southern dialect. You may even have presented their accent to the reader. If they are from somewhere else, such as a foreign country, use the dialect that natural to where that person comes from. Using proper native dialect, it not only helps create a realistic element to your characters, but it also helps you contrast between your characters. If you have a few that are from different areas or countries. Regional slang. Most regions have their own slang that is unique from other regions. Just like their dialect differs from place to place, so does their choice and slang words. And the majority of cases, kids and teens are more likely to use slang over adults. So make sure that the younger demographic uses a lot more slang than the older demographic. Furthermore, ensured that the slang that you're younger demographic is using is age-specific and that your older demographic is using age specific terms. The adult may occasionally use terms from the younger demographic, but don't make this happen often. And make sure that you make it clear that they've borrowed it from someone in the younger generation. General vocabulary. In addition to all the other steps in this chapter, make sure that you take a look at your characters vocabulary in general, everyone tends to speak a certain way, often slightly different from other people. To put it bluntly, there are some people that just don't say the same things because it's not a part of their standard vocabulary. The best thing to do is get an idea of what your character's overall vocabulary is. Since vocabulary and the words, they could go so far, the better way is to outline what they don't say and would never say. That helps you get an idea for the style of communication and the things that they would actually say. Creating expression takes time and practice. But if you follow these steps and have patients, you should be well on your way to creating strong terms of expression for all of your characters. Remember, when it comes to really planning out each character, don't worry too much about creating a very specific set of expressions for characters who have extremely minor roles in the story. Instead, focus on those who are minor but recurring or those who are central characters. These are the ones who you really want to go in depth when planning their expressions. Take your time and work through each of the steps while planning out how the characters will express themselves in each one. And use this as your opportunity to get to know your characters even more. This will make it much simpler to know how your character will express themselves and communicate with others in your novel. 6. Chapter 5: Bringing Your Character to Life: Chapter 5, bringing your character to life. Finally, you want to bring your character to life. This is the part of the process where you take that perfect profile you've made on paper and you start bringing each character to life for the first time. This is where you get to turn them into real characters that will have prominent roles in your novel in one way or another. Through the following steps, you will tie up any loose ends and then ultimately unleash your character into the world. Once this part of the process is done, you can start writing your story, trusting that your characters will be strong enough to support the plot line and make your story truly great. Use inspiration from people you actually know. There was a good chance that the characters you've made somehow resemble someone you already know in real life. When we are creating characters were often drawn on inspiration from those we already know. Don't feel shy when doing this. When you're writing, feel open to the idea of drawing on more inspiration for situations where you might need it. For example, if you're truly struggling to identify how your character would act, react, or respond or speak in a given situation. Draw inspiration from that person. This will help their actions flow naturally so that they seem realistic to who the character truly is. It is never a bad thing to draw on this inspiration. So keep it handy and use it at your own discretion to help increase the quality of your story. Simplify the writing process, and create a compelling character that fits perfectly in your story. Play on the element of surprise. Sometimes readers expect a certain thing when they are reading. For example, if your characters are going into a nightclub, your reader will likely expect that the bouncer is some big ganglia guy who had easily knocked down anyone trying to slip through uninvited, instead of simply going with the person that your reader was assumed that character would look like. Pick someone unique who makes your reader feel surprise toward who's playing the role. For example, you might pick a slender and somewhat lanky character who looks like they would struggle to keep a small dog back, let alone a potential customer who was serious about getting in. Instead of having a tall, white male lawyer, consider having someone from a completely different demographic. Characters don't need to be exactly who you'd assume they would be. In fact, they're often better when they aren't whom you would expect them to be. Yet this is the phenomenon that their role, in addition to using the element of surprise in your characters, use it in your events to not be afraid to make the unexpected happen and keep your readers on their toes. Use events that they wouldn't have expected. Create settings that are unlike what they would've expected and ultimately give your reader a reason to think, oh wow, really, this element of surprise is a great way to bring your characters and book itself to life. Most real-life experiences don't go as planned. And often many unexpected events, people and circumstances come to light. Now our lives do the same with your book, both with your characters, events, and circumstances. You want your reader to feel like it is real life. And that they never know what to expect from one day to another. This increases the value of your story and also heightens your readers encouragement and commitment toward your book. Use contradictions. Strong characters often have qualities that are highly contradictory. People aren't always as they seem. And so your characters shouldn't be as well. A great way to increase the livelihood of your characters and bring them to life is to give them contradictions. For example, an incredibly sporty racecar driver who's obsessed with the opera. Using these contradictions in your characters remind people that they're human and that they aren't always logical box fitting characters. Instead, they are real and they have interesting quirks about them, just like we all do. Give your characters goals. And the character development chapter, we explored the goals that your character has. But now we really want to emphasize on that. Giving your character's goals, hopes, dreams, and fantasies about how they want the future to be for themselves, make them a lot more lifelike. Real people always have some form of goal or dream, whether they talk about it or not. Giving your characters these features is important because it gives them something to look forward to and something for your reader to look forward to with them. It gives your reader a deeper insight into your character's inner world and what makes them tick. Therefore, making your reader feel a lot more connected to your character. Discover their image. Through the character development process, we discovered many identifying factors that shed light on what your characters actual image was. But if you really want to make them life-like, you want to discover exactly what it is like. One great way to do it is to find a picture of someone on Google or otherwise who represents your character. They should look similar, both in physical appearance and in the way they present themselves through style and expression. Many great writers claimed that they will even print these pictures off. Keep them nearby so that they can truly look at their characters and gain insight from them during the writing process to help progress the story along. If this feels right for you, certainly go ahead and borrow this tip from other writers. One thing to note about your characters image is that despite you know it intimately, you don't want to over-explain it to your readers. Instead, giveaway important pieces of information, but let the reader develop a picture in their own mind. When your reader generates their own image of who your character is and what they look like, it becomes more engaging and more personal, then your reader is more likely connect with your character and feel a form of emotional attachment toward them. Listen to them. Many writers claim that they can actually hear their characters voices. They start off by hearing a voice on the television or somewhere in public that sounds extremely similar to their characters own voice. Then they listened to that person and try to generate a total voice from it. Through that, they're able to listen to the voice of the character and use that to help them move forward. Each character has their own unique voice that is a combination of how they speak, what they're saying, and all of the tone and emotion that goes into their words. You want to discover the voice of each of your characters when you're writing, because this makes sense of the expression and speaking for them much easier. This is where you get the opportunity to bring them to life because they become a voice that eventually everyone hears somewhere. They may also hear it through someone on television or in public. But ultimately they can relate it back and go, Hey, that sounds like so. And so from that book I just read, when this happens, you've truly made your character life-like to the highest degree. Practice. It may take some time. But as with all things you need to practice. Practice bringing your characters to life and making them realistic. A great way to truly discover how you can do it to the highest of your abilities. At first, it may feel uncomfortable or even unnatural. But quickly you will find an opportunity to make your characters even more lifelike. And it'll be all just flowing together. One great way to practice is to consider an everyday situation. It doesn't have to be one that's going to be involved in your book. Just consider an everyday situation, such as going into a coffee shop and talking to the barista. Then write a few paragraphs for each character that you're trying to bring to life. Consider how they would walk into the cafe, how they would communicate with the barista, where they would go and stand after they'd ordered. They would carry their coffees. Whether they would drink the coffee there or go somewhere else. Consider whether they have someone with them or if they're alone. How did they express themselves to other patrons in the coffee shop? Get very specific about how their visit would go through these paragraphs. This is a great way to really consider how your character would react in everyday situations. Thus making it a lot easier for you to get to know your own character personally. Remember, once you know them intimately, it becomes a lot easier to share them with your readers. Give your character is plenty of opportunities to show up. And give your character the opportunity to show the reader how they react in different situations. This is a great way to bring them to life. Put your characters into many different situations and give your reader the opportunity to see them in action in every single one. Share about how your character acts in these situations, what they're thinking, and what they say. Let your reader have an idea of what your character's intentions are and perhaps even what got them into the situation in the first place. Giving your character plenty of chances to show up and experience many different situations that they can take action and gives you the opportunity to highlight them from different angles. You can show your reader what that character is like when they're angry, sad, happy, disappointed, unimpressed, hurt, and virtually any other emotion. When you explore your character under these different lights through naturally unfolding events, you make it a lot easier for you to give your reader a more intimate view of your character to. Successful stories are those that bring characters to life and make readers believe that they're real people. If you think back to any fiction, novel you've read in the past, you can likely conclude that the best ones were the ones where you grieve the end of the book because it felt like you had truly lost someone from your life. That's how good your characters can become when you follow these guides and effectively bring them to life for your readers. And although it may seem difficult, it truly isn't. Follow these steps. And you will have a life-like character playing on the heartstrings of your own readers in no time. 7. Conclusion - Character Development: Conclusion. Thank you for making it through to the end of character development. I hope that you were able to learn plenty of information about how you can create a phenomenal character for your own novel throughout this guide, by using the in-depth character creation guide, following the tips on how to build your character, how to make them great, and how to bring them to life. You should have all the tools you need to make a phenomenal character that will truly draw your readers in and help them generate a sense of emotional attachment to your characters. The next step is to begin building your characters. If you haven't already, take the time to generate a profile for each of your central characters and all of your biggest minor characters as well, create modified profiles for your minor characters. Remember that they do not need to be nearly as in-depth, but they do still need to be descriptive enough that you can create a strong character. Furthermore, make sure that you pay attention to the tips about how you can make a good character Great, and about how you can then bring your characters to life. Ideally, your character should be brought to life and made so great that readers feel as though they are close friends with the character. They may even grieve the loss of the character when the bookends. And there's nothing left for them to read. Using these tools and tricks, you can certainly create characters that are good for your own novel. Thank you and best of luck, have fun writing.