Have you ever read a book and thought the lead character was two-dimensional? Or flat? Or wish they had something more to them? I think we've all been there a time or two. I think part of this is based on the reader, but the author has to give something to the reader to attach to, something they can relate too.
The big question: So how do you do develop a character a reader can latch on to?
A couple of things I do:
- I think about their physical attributes first - short, tall, green eyes, athletic, limp, popped hip when he/she stands, pert nose, bushy eyebrows, brown hair, highlights, shaggy, long.
- I visualize them. I close my eyes and I see if everything that I have picked for my character works. - Do I like the shaggy hair? If her hip is popped, she's snotty - does that work? All my characters are tall - I want him to be short. But at this point - I have the image. The character exists.
- But characters don't just "look" and become awesome. Third step - "Big Personality Trait" - Hip is still popped - so she's got some attitude. He's short - little man syndrome. Book nerd/rebel without a cause/ closet comicon/depressed and suicidal.
- Crap - I'm real and I'm not only defined by my English nerdy-ness. Fourth step "Small Personality Traits". I like this part because this is where (I believe) you find the stuff you attach too. For example: Rose from the The Vampire Academies - Bad Ass - "Big Personality Trait" (awesomeness) die to keep a promise, loves her family, will follow her heart, believes in her future - "Small Personality Traits". These are the things a person routes for.
- Finishing touches - catch phrases - "Laters, Baby" mannerisms - hands through the hair when your frustrated, clothes, and pet peeves. - Not limited to these by any means - just examples.
This is how I develop my characters. My computer screen has been deleted twice, someone has been texted if something sounds likable or unlikable, and my playlist monkeyed with.
How do you develop your characters? How do you do it?
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