Character Development

I have taken a step back from my rough draft, and the completed first edit of my WIP. There is a blandness in spots that makes it boring. Maybe my secondary characters are too “cookie cutter.” I am working on some development of those supporting characters, give them depth.

Reading how writers of stories I love write gave me varied ways and means of doing it. One that stood out was fully develop all the characters as if the story was about them. Not sure I will go to that extreme, but maybe some key characters will get more time and detail that what makes it into the final draft.

Is it easier to cut what is there back than it is to fill in holes?

There are scenes that might not make that last cut but in my mind are missing. The whole scene might not make it, but details might make it into conversations that help fill those gaps. Of course what they are I won’t know until they are written used as reference.

In my mind, this detour in the process isn’t a waste of time. Adding more time to the rewrite stage, but that is what I have learned is what happens when you work to become a better storyteller. Rewrite, practice, trying different approaches, all valid useful tools in any one’s tool box, no matter what their project is.

How to get to know characters.

How do you do it?

Myself, I have used the Proust, though really the daughter of his friend initiated the questionnaire according to the Vanity Fair’s book by a similar name Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire. I found a copy at a second hand bookstore. This particular tome shares famous people like David Bowie, Julie Andrews, Carrie Fisher, and Little Richard to name a few.

There are a few other questionnaires – those one might use in an interview for a job. Pretty much any questionnaire that one could imagine asking of a real live person. I have also pulled some psychological personality spread sheets as well. You know the ones, whether a person is outgoing or reclusive, those kind.

Who are these characters? What is their background?

How do you write secondary characters?


2 thoughts on “Character Development

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    1. There are any number of questionnaires – the introvert/extrovert, virtually any that you would take for yourself, you could try taking as if the character you are developing is taking and imagine their answers. I forgot who told me about this or if I just read it somewhere. I have tried it and it is quite helpful for me.


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