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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Character Development Tip

Character Development Tip


After finishing the last novel I read, I had an epiphany on character development, that has probably been said a million times before in different medias, but is new to me so I thought I'd share.

 When picking a characters traits, think of something that would both hindering and helpful in life.

Sounds simple right? Well it probably is, and probably would have helped in my own character development in the past had I thought of it.

Here's a very obvious example, though there could be a million (just look at your friends and family):

Completely obsessed with appearance: 

The Bad: Critiques everyone's fashion sense or personal commitment to looks. 

The Good: Murder mystery? This is the character that would notice that it was Jane's diamond earring found at the scene, because she would have noticed that kind of thing.

Chick-lit? This is the character who would have the best makeup selection in a pinch. Who else would you call on to tell you if the outfit you chose for that important is right for the venue?

Just happened to be watching a show with this character type in it, so thought I'd use it for the example. Next time you catch a movie or a show pick the characters apart - where have their negative traits worked for a positive outcome, where have their positive traits not worked out so well?

It's not always as obvious with Main Characters as they tend to be focus on the good side only, but watch the side characters.  The nosy neighbor who winds up nosing his way into calling 911 when abusive sounds erupt from the household. The unfriendly neighbor who doesn't pay attention when the MC drags a body out of the house. The friend who fills you in on all of the town's gossip, but sadly loosens her lips about you to everyone else.  There are so many catches and hitches that could develop from these tactics.


This is a great writing prompt if you're feeling stuck.  Pick a character and write a scene with both the positive and negative effects that trait could unravel.


Write On!