Developing Character Characteristics

This is probably one of the most difficult things for me to do. In the past I’d simply start writing and the characters came to life, the plot  magically developed, and the story came together without any effort.  I wrote without focusing on any single element I’ve since been taught must be a part of a writer’s checklist.

If I know who my characters are–what inciting moment(s) in their earlier lives made them into who they are as adults, then answering each “why” (whether or not it ever comes out in the story)–will allow me to clearly see their GMCs. Once I know their GMCs, it will be easy to develop the plot and sub-plots wherein the h/h’s internal and external goals and motivations clash.

A good character arc is worth everything, and there has to be plausible reasons for their internal conflict and how they grow and change by the end. Knowing each character inside and out before I start should lead to tighter writing and more compelling characters with believable personalities.

Luckily, all of these elements made it into all my stories, but I’ll not take any chances in the future.  🙂

Happy writing, all!


2 thoughts on “Developing Character Characteristics

  1. I agree entirely that a good character arc is worth everything and you have to give plausible reasons for your character’s progression. Too many characters just kind of stumble along and then suddenly go through some kind of transformation for no real reason and it doesn’t sit right. Thanks for sharing this excellent advice.


  2. I like the way you said it, Cassandra. Rita Henuber and I were talking this morning about digging deep into our h/h’s motivation. This is one area of learning the craft I hadn’t really delved, but the more I work on each of my character’s pasts, which won’t even be in the story, the better I’ll be able to make my readers understand why everything they say and do is important to the story.

    Thanks for finding my post and giving me props!


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