Sunday, 30 April 2017

Writing: Character Development PART 1

As I have mentioned in posts before I am writing my own novel. Well, I say I'm writing it, it's already written. I'm now editing it which is proving a challenge in itself. I found that the actual editing of the story is more difficult than the first draft (which is the main reason its taking me so long to finish!). Therefore my experience with writing my first novel has inspired me to write some blog posts giving advice that I've picked up along my writing journey thus far. Now before I begin I will just emphasise that I'm still working on my first book, so I don't know everything and nor will I pretend to. I'm just here to offer some advice on what I've picked up along the way.
Lets get started shall we?
Characters are one of the most important parts of a book. Without the characters, well, you wouldn't have much of a book in your hands. This is obvious I know, however what I didn't quite know when I wrote my first draft was just how much impact my characters would have on the entire piece of writing. Nine times out of ten the first subject your reader will set their eyes upon (unless you open with the weather...do not do that!!) will be one of your characters. Therefore your entire sell point on the book will be the first character that'd introduced. If that character is weak and flat then its not likely that the reader is going to read much further.


Why Are Characters So Important?

Characters are one of the most important parts of a book. Without the characters, well, you wouldn't have much of a book in your hands. This is obvious I know, however what I didn't quite know when I wrote my first draft was just how much impact my characters would have on the entire piece of writing. Nine times out of ten the first subject your reader will set their eyes upon (unless you open with the weather...do not do that!!) will be one of your characters. Therefore your entire sell point on the book will be the first character that's introduced. If that character is weak and flat then its not likely that the reader is going to read much further.
When I call a character flat I mean that it's 2D, and when I say it's 2D I mean it just doesn't seem real. If you're thinking right now 'well of course the character doesn't seem real, it isn't real' then you need to stop. The character has to be so detailed that it could be real. Think about it from a reader's perspective, I know that when I read a good book I feel as though I am close to the characters. Especially the main character. I feel like I know them, when something good happens I feel happy for them and when their life falls apart, I feel sorry for them. This is the exact way you want your readers to feel. You want them to relate to the character, even if they don't like them.
If you don't bring your character to life with the intimate details of both their life and their personality then your entire book is going to be meaningless. For example if your main character goes through a troubling time in their life, then you need to play out their feelings, emotions and actions as if it were really happening. If a characters mother has just died then they aren't going to be able to just get on with their day, their entire dynamic is going to change, and it needs to show in your writing, their emotion needs to bleed through onto the pages. That way the reader feels much more compassion towards the character because they seem more 3D.



Character DO'S & DON'T'S

  • DO make your characters interesting
  • DO plan out your characters before your plot line
  • DO have plenty of characters
  • DO go into great detail
  • DO research to back up your characters
  • DO make each character different
  • DO give each character one memorable thing
  • DO relate your characters to your audience
  • DO give your characters goals

  • DON'T have similar character names
  • DON'T go into too much detail too quickly when writing
  • DON'T make them perfect (lots of flaws!)
  • DON'T base their opinions on yours
  • DON'T stereotype
  • DON'T make a pointless character
  • DON'T forget about your characters past, present and future
  • DON'T make your characters invincible (everyone has a weakness, even a villain)


That's part one of my tips for character development over, like I said I don't know everything. This is just what I have found out as I have planned and developed my characters. I hope these tips are useful to you, especially if you're working on your first novel like me.
Part 2 of my character development tips is coming soon. Next time I'll be telling you how to plan out your characters, how I planned out mine and I'll be giving some examples of flat characters. I'll see you there!

Please comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and also any advice you might have!

6 comments:

  1. Some really great hints and tips here, Kirsty! I definitely agree that it important to plan out your character development before you start writing, it definitely helps with the creative process!

    Abbey ๐Ÿ˜˜ www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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  2. Thanks! Glad the tips are helpful! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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  4. OMG this is so exciting! Writing a novel is so cool! I have been writing a bit too! And I know how important characters are. Your advice are great and definitely one to follow! thanks for sharing! xx corinne

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  6. Thanks I'm so glad you liked it! If you have a passion for writing then that's great! Keep writing lovely! Xx

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