1. Takinom

    Takinom New Member

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    Ways to develop a character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Takinom, Dec 13, 2016.

    So, as of now the only ways I know to develop a character are dialogue and monologue. I would like to know other ways of developing character, being it a group, a pair or a single character.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Historical Science

    Historical Science Contributor Contributor

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    I'd say there's probably an infinite amount of ways to develop/get to know your characters. Drawing up a backstory is the most obvious one. Writing scenes that won't necessarily be in your story is another way (throwing characters in situations to see how they react), interviewing them is another popular one, writing a journal through their perspective is another, etc, etc.

    EDIT: Characters are just like people. How do you get to know them? You spend time with them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  3. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    Personally, I think of the character and what part they will be playing. Then I think how I would be in that situation, then how others would be, then I come to a compromise. They will be that person in what they do & how they carry themselves. I size people up, so I write characters that are sized up. The dialogue will most likely follow who they have been sized up as; but in reality there are monkey wrenches, so I do those as well.
     
  4. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Senior Member

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    When I want to develop a character, I first get out the negatives in a dark room, then soak them in a chemical bath while...
    What's that? Oh. Wrong development.

    When you say 'Develop', do you mean 'Have the character change', or 'Reveal more about the character'? Because both things are valid and important, but they require different methods of accomplishing them. Something that a lot of stories do, that always bugs me, is to have a character be 'Confronted' about a problem or told that there is something bad about them, and then they have a heel-face-turn about the issue right at the last second to save the day. (They parodied this nicely in Rick and Morty with the Ballad of Ice T.) If you're going to have the character change their opinion on something, it either needs to be something minor to their personality, or it needs to take a little bit of time. (The alternative is to have something incredibly shocking and life-changing happen to them. Say, confronting a Nazi soldier with the atrocities of concentration camps might make him change his mind about the whole 'Nazi' thing, but a conversation over breakfast about the downsides to the Third Reich would need some time to sink in.)
     
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  5. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!
    Well, the flip answer is that what a character does is more important that how the character talks/thinks about what they're doing ;) What does each character want to do that the other characters don't?

    Even if a group of characters all have the same goal, they'll each want to reach that goal in different ways which might or might not mesh together well.
     
  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Another obvious one is action - whenever you show a character being brave/cowardly/harsh/kind/loving/hateful or whatever you develop the readers understanding of them (assuming of course that action is consistent with the character you are developing)
     
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  7. pamedria

    pamedria Member

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    If you mean how to communicate the development with your readers you can do so from their thoughts using italiscs and also what other characters are thinking/saying about the said character as well. Flashbacks, memories, dreams, desires. For me, I love having the character remember something, and then write it out. I remember one book did such a great flashback, I was so into that mini story of the character's adolescent life that when it returned to the present, I had nearly forgotten it was a flashback!

    Throw info about your characters throughout the story as well. So don't give it all away at once, be it appearance aspects, voice, desires, sexuality, then the personality will then be shown by of course the dialogue like you said... but also their mannerisms, gestures etc
     
  8. hawls

    hawls Active Member

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    Do you mean:

    During the creation of a character?

    or

    During the narrative?

    If you are talking about how to develop a character during its conception it is important to consider the role this character will play. If it's your MC for example, less is more. You're going to use this character as your narrative sponge, learning and developing as the plot moves along, so your reader experiences and grows with the character. If it's a supporting character, composing a suitable backstory your protagonist can slowly come to learn through their continued interaction is as simple as it gets.

    If you are talking about how to develop a character during the narrative, you have to map out opportunities for your character(s) to be challenged, whether this is physical, emotional, psychological...is it their skills, their intelligence, or their morals being put to the test? Usually there is always opportunity for this, and it will occur so intuitively even you as the author won't really notice the many and varied ways you have developed your character through the course of the story. Writers often have doubts about how their characters are developing, and to compensate, their writing will become forced.

    If you can, map out what the character was like when the story starts, and show on a line when something about them changed and why, and how it has affected them. What kind of person did they become. You could use a table. Use the following headings for your columns.

    Character - Start - Incident - Affect - Consequence

    Start: How the are at the start.
    Incident: What happens to them.
    Affect: How did it affect them.
    Consequence: How the character behaves now.You can repeat Incident, Affect, Consequence as many times in relation to your story and how much happens in it. This kind of thing isn't for everyone but it might just help to reassure you that your characters are growing and developing in interesting ways.
     
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  9. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    All of the above ^^^ and . . .

    Treat them like real human beings.* Even the supporters and the walk-ons.

    Conversely, just moving your characters around like pieces in a plot puzzle will lead to literary disaster. Or at least, to underdeveloped, boring writing.


    *Or real whatevers, if you're doing sentient animals or fantasy creatures.
     
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  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    EDIT: derp
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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  11. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    I typically write from a 3rd limited POV (though 1st works just as well), so the narrative is absolutely littered with biases from the POV character. Most of the sentences are colored with that character's voice. I find that, especially during times of low tension or minimal fast-paced action, it really brings out the thoughts and facets of the character that wouldn't be explicitly stated otherwise.
     
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  12. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    I'd never noticed before, but this confrontation does happen a lot, especially in YA stories. I completely agree with having something actually happen to them to change the character, instead of having a different character turn around and have a go at them and suddenly - their whole attitude changes! Putting them in a difficult situation is always a perfect opportunity to reveal a lot about each character that is present. It's been said that a person's true self is revealed under pressure. Their mask is ripped away from them because they can no longer keep it up, and the reader gets to see what's left.

    I 100% agree here. Everything your character does says something about them, from the big things like how they react to others (as above) to the small things like how they drink their coffee. Or if they drink coffee. Whether they drink it in a refined manner or slurp it and let some slip down the side, for instance, says a lot about them. The opportunities to suggest things about them through little actions are endless. On the other hand, you have to be careful not to get too bogged down by that. Sometimes a character just is having a drink, or just is walking down the street.

    Exactly. In addition, what a character notices or doesn't notice, what they choose to describe in detail and what they choose to breeze over, also says things about them.
     
  13. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm mystified: From whence are you picking these nits? I didn't use the word "person" in my post.
     
  14. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    ... I'm not sure why I thought you did.
     
  15. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Because . . . well, never mind.

    No need for anyone to feel lousy. Happy holiday(s) of your choice!
     
  16. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Christmas, thanks :) Happy holidays!

    (You didn't see Wreybies' vignette about this by any chance, did you?)
     
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  17. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Nope, I haven't seen it. Got a link?

    Merry Christmas!
     
  18. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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  19. StoryArcs

    StoryArcs New Member

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    The story will indicate how a character develops. :) Beliefs, values and relationships will shift as new information is gained about the world. Start out by fleshing out the character as much as possible and learn how life events will change the inner person. Then express that inner change with new behaviour. People change when they get new information about the world or find contradictions in what they know about it. That's why conflict is so important to story. This might be a good place to start. Good luck!
     

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