Writing Fiction: How to develop your character in fiction

Every story has characters in one form or another. Some famous main characters you may know well such as Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, Bella Stewart, Clark Kent, or Fireheart weren’t always so real sounding.

The authors who created them had to work on making them seem real so the reader can connect to them.

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Real doesn’t just mean personality. It also means history, likes and dislikes, favorite food or music or movies, pet peeves, etc., anything you would ever know about yourself, it is good if you know that about your character.

Some writers make extensive character bios (even including things like what their best childhood memory was or what their star sign is or how close they are to their cousins), some authors even “interview” their character (basically a Q&A with themselves), and they draw their character or find a bunch of pictures that look like their character.

I’m not that extensive with my characters (mostly because I don’t think I need to be which is just my preference) yet, I do have a few character bios.

Example: a bio of Eryn Kingsly and a bio of her best friend Celeste from novel “Red, White, or In Between

It’s your preference entirely on how detailed with character profiles you want to be.

But there are some elements you must consider when developing your character besides what they look like.

1. Family Tree

You don’t have to go all the way back to their great, great, great aunt twice removed or whatever. Just to their grandparents on each side. Who they were, what they did for a living, and how close their relationship is (or was) with your character.

Current relationships with family can shape a person, changing how they act around others.

If you are restricted at home, you might wanna spread your wings and fly outside, right?

2. Their Upbringing

Someone’s upbringing strongly influences who they are today. How their parents treated them might affect how they treat others in the future, especially in a romantic relationship or with their child. How their siblings treated them might also affect how they act around other people. If parents created any sort of sibling jealousy, that could also affect them when they grow up.

3. Likes & Dislikes

Favorite whatever. Animals, book genres, movie genres, fashion, color, etc., as well as whatever they dislike. These can say a lot about a character.

There must be a difference between someone who loves tarantulas to someone who hates them. Maybe the tarantula-loving character has a more daring personality? Maybe they like to take risks?

Or maybe they just think spiders are adorbubble.

Soooo adorbubble!

I, for one, do not think tarantulas are adorbubble. Thankfully, I have never seen one in real life.

4. What is important to them? and What are their values?

What are some things that your main character really cares about? What is most important to them? What are their values?

Family, friends, pets, or (narcissistically) themselves, their significant other, etc., what do they care about?

Getting revenge, murdering people, saving the world, making sure their family has a safe place to live, making sure there’s enough food on the table, making sure their cat is happy, etc., what is most important to them?

Do they value peace? Are they religious? What are their thoughts on abortion or the death penalty? What are their values?

Try and answer all of these (only if you want to) about your character. Once you know these about them, there’s a good chance your character will sound more real in the story 🙂

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