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Developing A Detailed Character

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One of the most important aspects of writing a book is ensuring that your characters are fully developed. It may sound like a simple task but a quick physical description is not going to cut it when it comes to the majority of your characters. To add some focus for this post I’m going to discuss your main characters because those are probably the ones that you’ll have the most trouble developing.

To truly develop a character you need to know that character inside and out, at some point you’ll need to let that character take over your mind for a bit so you can truly understand them. So where to start? I recommend that you create a character profile for each of your main characters (again, I’m only focusing on main characters but this is also a great exercise for other characters in your book).

Character Profile: A simple word doc will do. Using your word doc you can start filling in the list below. This is just a starting point, add anything else you can think of.

What to include in a character profile:

Full Name
Place of Birth
Birth Date
Age
Sex
Race
Character Level
Physical Description
Height
Weight
Body Type
Eye Color
Eye Shape
Face Shape
Hair Color
Hair Length + Style
Business Attire
Casual Attire
Possessions
Home(s)
Car(s)
Personality Type (myers-briggs)
Introvert or Extrovert
Scared of
Biggest Problem at The Moment
Quirks
IQ
Other Personality Traits
Job
Educations
Internal Conflict
Growing Up

Other Activities: Often you’re going to need to get more involved to really figure out who your character is. The following is a list of other activities you can do to help you further develop your character.

  • Take a myers-briggs personality test as if you were the character (This one can be quite fun)
  • Write a full chapter of your book from each of the main characters’ points of view (Stephanie Myers did a great job of this with her partial draft of Midnight Sun)
  • Role Play- go spend a few hours as your character at the local coffee shop. Or if your character drives a really fancy car, see if you can test drive that car and see what it’s like to be them.
  • Find someone like your character and study them (with this you may want to be a little more subtle)

I hope this helps you with developing your characters. Since everyone has their on tried and true methods for this, please share them in the comments below.