Developing a character - whether it is a main character, or a supporting character, is a process. We want to make them real, and we want the relationships between them to be real. They can relate in all kinds of ways: they can be siblings, co-workers, boss and employee, rivals, partners (business partners, romantic partners, partners in crime), human and pet (I didn't use the term "owner" because it is very quetionable whether we own animals, or they own us!) ... the list goes on! How these relationships will flow depends on the relationship, the environment, and the storyline. Characters should be opinionated, willing to take risks, and clearly be a part of a group dynamic. The storyline can be moved by a bit of ambiguity in a character, as well as the power of long held grudges (business or personal).
There should be a motive for everything that your characters say and do. Sometimes not revealing the motive until close to the end of the book will allow for some interesting side-trips and false clues - things that spice up your book!
A book bible will certainly come in handy, because as writer's we need to understand our character's history (and keep it straight), so that our readers don't see one thing on one page, and another thing two chapters later! This holds true for a stand alone book, but even more so if you are writing a series. Your characters need to show some attitude - and there has to be a reason for it. You need to give your readers a reason for liking your characters - and continuing to purchase your books!
Things to watch out for when developing your characters: (1) Do not make them one dimensional - this is boring, and they won't seem real to the reader. (2) Imperfections in our characters is what makes them interesting - don't make your character Mr/Ms Perfect! (3) Don't allow your characters to fall into a stereotype - it just isn't interesting when the reader can tell way ahead of time what a character is going to say or do. (4) Don't try and create the best version of yourself as one of your characters - for one thing, this doesn't exist, and for another thing, yhou may become way too vested in the character.
Characters should be developed in detail, and they should appear to be real people. As you are developing your characters, remember that they need to be realistically based on the history that you have given them. Make your secondary characters just as interesting as your primary characters, as they are either supporting the storyline, or moving it along.
In my next blog, I will be talking about how characters interact.
(c) June 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.