What’s in a Character?

Writers have pondered over this age-old question for centuries.  The mere mention of the topic produces an array of emotions that often lead to anxiety, tears, hair pulling, and a lot of nail-biting.  Now, writers spare the stubs and let your nails grow out because help is provided in this easy Twelve Steps of Character Development process:

  1. One must admit that he or she has creative power to brainstorm, create, and breathe life into both the protagonist and antagonist of his or her design.
  2. A writer must come to terms and believe in the sanctity of character development and all the creative process has to offer.
  3. Do your homework and research before making a firm decision because the central or minor character decided on today can and often will turn the lives of your other characters upside down.
  4. Make a conscious effort to embody a fearless inventory of your own morals and virtues then assure yourself that it is okay for your characters’ perspectives to differ from your personal beliefs.
  5. Be true to not only your characters but to yourself and remember, flexibility is your friend, whereas, indecisive behavior is not.
  6. Allow your characters humility when appropriate because everyone must face their shortcomings in life.
  7. Be ready to realize the perfect character is not perfect.  The imperfections a character has are what makes him or her relatable and provides a human quality for all to see.
  8. Put together character bio lists and be willing to make adjustments where needed to ensure the personality and traits of your characters move plots, conflicts, and/or story lines.
  9. Make changes to characters when and wherever change is required, except when to do so may weaken plot, conflict, and/or one’s story line.
  10. Keep a running list and personal inventory of perspective imaginary people because you never know when a character may be required.
  11. Search your inner thoughts and the reason for choosing a specific character for your novel because your selection must move the story line.  You must understand how  your character shapes your plot.  In the end, does your character get what he or she wants, or does your character acquire what he or she needs?
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening or awareness, as a direct result or correlation of these steps, one should try to carry out this message to other anxiety stricken, teary-eyed, hair pulling, nail-biting writers in close proximity.  Only then can nail-biting become a thing of the past.

When developing a character, I find it easier to impart little quirks that drive my created individuals.  I may have a tea drinker, who loves the smell of coffee, but he or she may balk at the bitter, unpleasant taste, the offending drink has to offer.  My character may have a crooked smile or sport misaligned teeth.  He or she may even squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube; imagine the horror of that one small act on a dark and stormy night when the wind howls through the rafters.  Many of my characters have displayed, in their own right, self-doubt or may have envied qualities in others he or she did not possess.  People are not perfect; therefore, characters should display imperfections, as well.

April Luna is the author of two contracted novels scheduled for release Spring 2014 with Soul Mate Publishing.  You may find her at the websites listed below:

Twitter – @AprilALunaWrite – www.twitter.com/AprilALunaWrite

Facebook Writer’s page: www.facebook.com/AuthorAprilALuna

Writer’s Blog: www.aprilaluna2013.wordpress.com

 

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8 Responses to What’s in a Character?

  1. April, nice post with some great points. Congrats on your SMP contracts!

  2. annebrocole says:

    I’m ‘That tea drinker that loves the smell of coffee but cannot stand the taste of it’. Cast me in your book:)

    *Rebecca Blystone,* *Writing as: Anne Brocole* *Maledicta 2014*

    Blog http://www.annebrocole.wordpress.com/ Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anne-Brocole/576718832392205 Twitter @AnneBrocole

    On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 1:03 AM, WordPress.com

    • Hello Anne,

      I’m right there with you. I love the smell of coffee, but I do not care for the taste. It’s akin to smelling vanilla, which does not taste as it smells. Give me tea with sugar and cream any day, and I’m a happy camper.

  3. Patricia Hudson says:

    A great blog. If I could rate it, I would give it five *****. Can’t wait to read your books, I know they will be wonderful.
    Pat.
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BerylJenks
    Twitter: @authorPhudson

  4. Elle Hill says:

    This is just brilliant stuff. I have *such* a difficult time with number four. I tell myself not every character has to look like me (only sometimes in drag). 🙂 It’s tough to create characters who are vivid and who don’t share my value system.

    • I enjoy writing characters that differ from my thoughts and/or viewpoints. It allows me to experience the world from another perspective while remaining safely seated at my desk.

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