The following excerpt comes from “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,” by Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill.
If this list we’ve provided in the last three blogs seem overwhelming, we’d suggest you use the book, The Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters, by Marc McCutcheon. In addition to going into more detail, it has exceptional forms and explanations.
Write a biography of each character. Once you know your characters well, you’ll better understand how to integrate them in your story. Remember, you may have more in your inventory than what makes your story. But, this will assist you in your plot. Readers do not want to know every aspect of your characters. Bringing in the most important part is what matters.
Example: List the articles in a woman’s purse: Lipstick, makeup, wallet (credit cards, money), dental floss, note pad, pen, business cards, stamps, letter, glasses, and a small handgun. Now write a brief description of what you noticed helping her pick up the contents: Annabel dropped her purse and it flew open, scattering the contents. As her lipstick rolled across the foyer, I retrieved it as she quickly moved to replace the handgun before anyone noticed.
I wondered, why would Annabel have a handgun? The other items in Annabel’s purse may or may not come into play later in your story.
Your turn. Write a brief description of what you noticed when a female character drops her purse.
Another challenge–write a bio of a character.
We hope you enjoyed these tips on character development. We know we did not cover them all, just enough to trigger your own thoughts.