Who Are You? A Characters Developement Guide

Hannibal Lecter: You never knew he existed until you read a book and the author introduced you to... a sociopath. Your stomach cringes, maybe there's a knot of nausea, because through the writer's words, you'll hear that hideous sucking sound he makes when pushing his tongue up against his front teeth. His unsavory habit of cannibalism, is why he's transported in a locked body brace and a face mask, yet we're still tantalizingly engrossed with the metalic taste of fresh iron scented blood, and the shredding tear of skin when an officer gets too close. But it's when he says, "Clarisse," in that demented way he does that you feel the spider legs crawling up your spine and you have to tell yourself outloud that He's just a Character, and you are not his next meal, or are you...

The following articles are written by our own Writers' Ramble members. Read how they develop there characters.

The Character
Before I start writing a manuscript, I like to have a good understanding of who my 'players' are. If I'm going to have a heist in a bank, I wouldn't use a blundering idiot. That's just common sense. I wouldn't use a fast tempered, hungry-for-cash criminal either. I'd want a smart, devious, and very organized individual. A single gentleman or woman with a lot of time. That would take some interviewing.

Where Do Characters Come From, Mommy?
Heidi Wilde
As with most of our topics, our answers will be different. I decided to go through a few of my projects and jot down how I ended up with the characters I have and see if I could find a pattern ;) And what do you know, I did!

Wait, you did what? With who? WHERE?
Josh Morrey
If you're writing a story, there's a pretty good chance you have characters in it. Even if your tale is composed entirely of inanimate objects, there's going to be some personality, some history, some purpose to those objects. So how do you make them believable people? How do you portray them in a way that will make your readers not only understand them, but care about them?

Knowing Your Character
Depending on which theorist you listen to, there are only 6, 7, 10, or 20 basic plots for every story. But regardless of the number, the message is clear: there are a limited number of stories to tell. You don't believe me?




  1. Going to the World's largest game convention, GenCon in August in Indianapolis. But most of the things I am doing there is going to writing seminars. 5 in all, I think, was the last count.

  2. I think character development is the most exciting part of writing. It's like fashion clothes shopping to a wealthy celebrity. It's a big mix and match of characteristics and personality traits which you witness in every day real people, integrated with the super hero/villans rolls.

    Planning out a lot of the stereotypes of the different characters helps determine the rest of the story from locations, scenarios, to items they will use. These protocall features of each character will help the writer bring a certain character into a scene, and react to the various other events and characters within the scene; then to how each different scene can invoke a completely different reaction from the same character in different settings.

    I like to start with personality traits of real people, and place them into my fantasy scenario, to see how the different reactions can change. Real people traits help make the story feel more believable; especially for fiction.