Character development is super, very, ridiculously important if you’re writing any sort of fiction. Of course it’s all very subjective and it depends from author to author, but generally a well-written character is a good thing. Personally, I love developing my characters. Whenever I find myself in a writer’s block or just bored with life in general, I tend to find myself messing around with my characters through various ways. As a “pantser” writer, I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve found a new plot point just by messing around with my characters and their personalities.
Also I just think it’s fun which is probably why I have an entire notebook and folder on my computer dedicated to my characters and why most of my friends think I’m insane.
This is really my starting point for any sort of character development. I’ve found a pretty good one that I’ve used for every character I’ve ever created and actually regularly update with any changes. It asks for the name, age, weight, favorite color, etc. While it is very basic, it’s an excellent start to any sort of character development. My personal favorite question on it is the “trauma” portion. Honestly, all of my characters improved immensely once I was forced to add trauma to their lives. I never even considered it as a contributing factor into a character’s personality until this questionnaire shoved it into my face. It’s basic, but it adds depth.
When I’m truly bored, I’ll find other questionnaires to fill out but honestly this one is still my favorite and my go-to for any character development because of its simplicity.
TIP! If you are serious about filling out this questionnaire, this awesome website can help you determine your character’s height and weight.
CHARACTER VERSUS THINGY
I blatantly stole this idea from artists, but honestly it’s one of my favorite ways to develop my characters. Basically I fan-casted all of the characters in my novel so I have a picture for each character, I number them 1-8, and then throw them into these situations as the thingy determines. You could just use each situation as a prompt without the use of a celebrity’s picture for the characters, but c’mon you know you’ve always wanted to secretly fan-cast your novel.
TIP! If you want to do it multiple times but different situations, my tip is to use https://www.random.org/ to randomize the number given to your characters.
ONLINE DRESS-UP GAMES
Okay let me first admit that I am absolute trash for my characters. That being said, http://www.azaleasdolls.com/ is my number one resource to fully visualize my characters. Yeah fan-casting is great and all, but sometimes celebrities are much prettier than your characters. Personally, I have yet to find an actress/model for my main character in my superhero story. It just seems like every actress I’ve come across doesn’t fit my image of her. The mermaid creator offered by Azalea Dolls is really the first time I was able to see my main character’s face.
Now they even have a “Sci-Fi Warrior Creator” which is basically the non-copyright-infringement way to say “Star Wars Character Creator”. The only problem with this dress-up game is that there’s no evident male option so I’ve just been gender-bending my male characters.
TIP! Choose a matching color scheme for your characters. I’m lucky because I’ve written a novel about superheroes so all of my characters are stuck with their super suit colors. But it makes it easy to keep track of when crossing from the mermaid dress-up to the clearly-not-Star Wars dress-up.
Have any more fun ways to develop characters? Let me know through my Twitter or my Facebook! Be sure to follow my Pinterest as well for writing tips, inspiration for my own novels, and nerdy things! Also pretty dresses. Lots and lots of pretty dresses.