If you are reading this article then I’m sure you love reading and writing stories. Now, I want you to think about your favourite story. Now, think about the characters in that story. You probably can visualize them. That’s the key point. In this article we will discuss how you can create and develop strong characters for your story.
Every good story has at least one memorable character. Think about Harry Potter or The Twilight Saga or Pride and Prejudice or Fifty Shades of Grey. They all have amazing characters. Characters which can be visualized by the readers. No wonder when these novels were adapted into movies they did so well. Well described characters bring stories to life.
Now let’s dive into the important stuff- The process of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.
1. APPEARANCE– It’s important to describe your characters with a fair amount of details. For example, how they walk, talk, eat or drink, their hobbies, some dark secret, etc. These details will help your readers understand the mindset and the background of your characters. It will also mention about their mannerism and behaviorism. I personally love describing the physical traits of my protagonist like, her height, complexion, built and even the eye colour. You may find some authors or teachers shying away from describing the physical characteristics of their characters but I personally feel that it is important and helpful for the readers to generate the image of my characters. Once that happens, readers feel more connected with the story line. But you should take care not to go over the top. Keep it subtle and realistic.
2. ACTION– “Show don’t tell.” Make your characters act. How a character acts tell a lot about him or her. Let’s take an example- The moment Rohit saw Ankit hit his wife, he put down his cup of tea and went outside the house without uttering a word. The way Rohit acted makes him look timid and some would say like a coward. Now let’s take the same scenario but this time we’ll change how Rohit acts. The moment Rohit saw Ankit hit his wife, he slapped Ankit hard on his face and made him apologize to his wife. This time Rohit’s actions make him look brave and heroic. Remember- “Action speaks louder than words”.
3. GOALS– Give your characters some goals to achieve. They are essential for your character development. Solid goals help in generating solid characters. Readers would get a clear idea about what is it that the character is after. It might be as simple as scoring good grades in the board exam or as complex as solving a murder. For example, Bella’s goal in The Twilight Saga was to be with Edward forever. The story unraveled accordingly.
4. CONFLICTS– Where there are goals there are bound to be some conflicts or hurdles. Without any conflicts, it’ll be too easy for your character and too boring for your readers. Conflicts are the speed breakers that your character will encounter in his or her path to success. Success will come only when he or she achieves the goals as discussed. These conflicts will test the mettle of your characters. They will also help in shaping or developing your character further. For example- Your character fails in his board exams. He has faced a conflict. How do you want to proceed from here? If you are like me, then you would like to inspire your readers and develop your character in a more positive way or you can first make him fall into the pits of depression and then make him rise like a phoenix or you may come up with something entirely different. There are absolutely no rules on how you may develop your characters. It’s your creative world and hence, it’s your choice.
5. FLAWS– Nobody is perfect and therefore, your character also CANNOT be perfect. Flaws can be physical, mental or emotional. For example- Your character might be a struggling alcoholic or she might be deaf or he might have a gambling problem. You get my point. Flaws help the readers to connect with the characters. Also, these flaws work as an additional conflict in storyline. No matter how much you love your characters, you must make them suffer. Only then you will have your readers attention because, somewhere they want to see the characters struggle and then achieve success. You can even create a backstory related with that flaw. A prequel sounds interesting 😉
6. THE X- FACTOR– If you want to sway your readers, make sure your character has some x- factor i.e., uniqueness. Again, you may start off with something as simple as Sharad was the most confident child in the entire X grade. Now, work upon it and evolve Sharad as- The topmost businessman under 30 as per Forbes. Character development is done in stages. So be clear on how you want to proceed with it.
These are some of the key points regarding Character development or generating awesome characters for your story. If you have more points then please, do share them.
Will see you soon,