first draft

First Draft: Character Development

I was looking forward to writing this post as character development is one of my favourite things about writing. I also enjoy reading well rounded characters who go on a journey, not just physically but emotionally.

Today, I am going to share my top 5 tips for character development:

Details and Actions

The reader needs to know and understand your character. I don’t recommend info dumps of description etc, but drip feeding little nuggets about your character throughout the narrative works perfectly. Showing your character’s personality by actions rather than telling is more organic for the reader.

Become One with Your Character

You need to get in your character’s head. If you know them inside and out and understand how they would act, then this will translate to the reader.

Don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to knowing your character. Even if you don’t include every aspect of their life, just knowing it will aid your writing.

Find their Voice

This is more than simply writing dialogue and giving them an accent. Voice can be a distinctive part of the character’s story. Do they swear a lot? Are they sarcastic? Perhaps their lack of filter gets them in hot water time and time again. Defining their voice is important in making them memorable, and voice can be so distinctive that it actually aids or hinders the narrative.

Actions and Consequences

This is an important point to cover to show the progression of your character over the course of the narrative.

How have the things they have been through affected their outlook or how they react? Would they react differently to a certain situation at the end of the book than they would at the beginning? This development should be at the forefront of your mind as you progress with your character’s story arc.

Internal Conflict

No one is perfect, so why would your character be? Internal conflicts such as anxiety or resentment can be used to drive/ influence the narrative. Overcoming an internal conflict is a great character arc and shows progression and growth.


Do you have any tips for character development and writing memorable characters?


Content belongs to K.J Chapman

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