You have always dreamed of being a writer, of sharing a story with the world. You have a brilliant story taking shape in your mind and now seems to be the right time to start getting it out and onto paper. With so so many people self publishing their first books, now is an excellent time to take the plunge and start writing. Assuming that you have grasped the fundamentals of writing your first book, then your next stage will be to focus in on your characters. Which is where we come in, as here are our 3 steps to character development, so sharpen that pencil and get scribbling down your ideas.
Know them inside and out
Your characters needs to be living and breathing to you. If they aren’t alive to you, how do you expect them to come off the page for your readers? Consider them from every possible angle and imagine what they would do in a variety of situations. This need not be situations that they find themselves in in your tale, you simply need to understand how they would react at any given time. How would they feel, what would they say, what body language would they be displaying? In order to ensure that every character in your book is three dimensional, you need to go through this process with all of them.
Do your research
They say that you should write what you know, don’t they? However, even if you do base your novel on real life events or experiences, the chances are that you are still going to need to carry out some research. Your characters need to be completely believable, so for every job that they have and for every situation that they find themselves in, you need to understand it and be able to convey that to your reader. Only then will they be able to empathise and believe in your story.
Would your character get into trouble with the law and need the help of a bail bondsman? Would your character be aspiring to be a zookeeper and be undergoing their training? Would your character work at the Empire State Building? The sky’s the limit, you know this, but whichever way you decide to go with your characters, you need to ensure that you have properly researched and looked into the reality of each of these experiences before writing them.
Make them relatable
If you want people to keep on reading, you have to take the above two steps and then ensure that your character is relatable. You can make them likeable, flawed, heroic, strongly opinionated, adventurous, it is all entirely up to you, but the reader needs to relate to them on some level. No-one wants to read a book where they couldn’t care less about any of the characters and their fates. Readers need to be invested in your storyline, so make them relatable, bring them to life and inject a healthy dose of reality through your research.
When the time comes and your book is published, do be sure to come back and tell us all about it!