Characters - Who Are They?

I'm working on creating an awesome new hero  (I'll get to his heroine later)  and  as I think about character development, I'm reminded of several things I've learned along the way.

Here are a few general ideas I refer to as I work on revealing my characters:


Inner thought/retrospection

Physical appearance
Clothing, jewelry
Grammar, vocabulary
Physical gestures/quirks/idiosyncrasies
Reactions to other characters/problems/situations

Things to ask your character:

What tangible things surround you?

What treasures and trinkets have you saved from the past?
How would you react to the editorial in today’s paper? Breaking news?
What is your goal? In life? At this very moment?
Who is the most interesting person in the world to you?

Things to remember:

Make your characters interesting, complex, and memorable.

To stay in point-of-view, write as if the viewpoint character is the only one in the scene with eyes and ears.
Avoid clich├ęd, stereotyped characters.
Don’t let minor characters become so interesting and quirky that they take over your writing. What’s important is how the principals in your story react to them.

Remember the rule:

Reveal character bit by bit, saving the most interesting parts for last.

Okay, so I'm off to work on my new hero with these ideas in mind. But first, I'll direct you to  Emma's blog for a fantastic perspective on character development by Rebecca Grace.

Now go and create some great characters!



J.A. Saare said...

When I read nuggets like this, I feel incredibly lacking. ;-) Most of the time, I have a general idea but fly by the seat of my pants.

Great blog!

Emma Lai said...

Thanks for posting the link to my blog, Kaye! Great questions for characters and reminders.

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Catherine Bybee said...

Great outline for character development! Thanks, Kaye.

Helen Hardt said...

Great advice, Kaye, as always!

Cari Quinn said...

This is a great list to keep handy! On my way over to Emma's...thanks, Kaye! :)

Shelley Munro said...

Great post, Kaye. Like Jaime, I fly by the seat of my pants and learn about my character during the writing of the book. I start with a vague idea and go from there.

Debs said...

I must remember all of this because I'm sure I don't most of the time.

Kaye Manro said...

Thanks to everyone!

It's always nice to have a guide even if we fly by the seat of our pants when writing. When I first strart out, I do that too. But then, I go back and make sure my characters are full and react the way they should within the plot.

Suzanne Jones said...

Thanks for another brilliant post.


Dayana said...

Great advise, Kaye. I will keep this in mind while working on my present and future works. Definitely creates more depth.

So glad I popped in. Now I'm off to visit Emma:)


Linda Banche said...

You're certainly organized, Kaye. Pantser that I am, I get an idea, write a few pages of outline and then fill it in as I go.