In my opinion, in order for any story to become successful, even plot driven stories, it first needs to have well defined, richly layered characters that the reader can connect with. Reader connection develops on many levels.
· Through Reminders - maybe the character reminds us of ourselves – past, present, or future
· Through Love – maybe the reader develops a strong love for the character
· Through Hate – maybe the reader hates them
· Through Heroism – maybe the reader lives through the character’s heroic acts
No matter what level the reader connects with, the fact remains that a connection must be made. Think back to every book you have read that you’ve loved. Why did you love it? Is your first thought about a certain character? Do you remember their names? Do you have a clear picture of who they were/are? Then that, my friend, is reader connection.
Take a look at this Character Development Worksheet for some good pointers on areas you may have missed during your character development process.
Some writers disagree, but I think there’s something to be said for this important element of writing. Some may say that characters are dynamic, constantly changing, spontaneous, and shouldn't be drawn out from a cookie-cutter. And I agree. The worksheet is designed to give you something to refer to in your discovery of who your character is, inside and out. They are unique, no doubt about, and should be created as the unique individuals that they are.
Make sure you spend time on their back story, dialogue, physical description, nemesis, fears, and the like. Once you get to know them, you may hate them, but you will connect with them.Some links to help you along:
Advice From Fiction Writers
Writing Advice for Fiction Writers
101 Character Development Questions for Writers
Let me know what other things you look at when developing your characters. I'd love to know so I can add them to my list!
Merry Christmas. I hope your holiday is filled with happiness, warmth, and joy.