Character Development Secrets - 7 Steps to Developing Real People Who Bring your Fiction to Life - 3

Sep 11 20:28 2007 Corey Blake Print This Article

Character development is paramount to a successful story. In this article we’ll explore how to determine your character’s essential essences, definitive moments in their past, resulting behaviors and emotions, and then LET THEM PLAY! You will learn how to create convincing characters that are real and will truly excite your readers.

Part Three: Let Your Characters Live

Character development for fiction is an essential step in the writing process and can mean the difference between a work that is welcomed by a publisher and one that is stuffed in the rejection pile. The time you invest in developing three-dimensional characters before you begin writing will reward you with more productive writing time and a stronger story. Just as you would frame up your story with an outline,Guest Posting you need to properly build the characters that bring life to your work.

In the third installment of this four-part series on story character development, we're taking the fundamental traits, behaviors, and backstories you've developed to this point and helping you to push the limits of your characters.

In the previous two articles, we looked at the first four steps in this seven-step process:

1. Label their desire essences

2. Label their fear essences

3. Get specific with your backstory and

4. Describe their current behavior.

Now, we're ready to step out of the structural mode of novel character development and let these creations stretch their limits and contribute to an exciting story.

5. Raise the stakes: Emotions are extreme

Play in the realm of this extreme when dealing with the fears and ambitions of your characters. These essences are all encompassing; meaning that we spend our lifetimes with them. Don't cheat your characters by being afraid to raise the stakes as high as you can. Needing to find a precious stone to sell to an art dealer by midnight to raise the financing to save your character's mother's house before the bank takes it away from her tomorrow is exciting!

Look back at your own life and think of how seriously you take your essences. When your essences are threatened, will you fight to extremes to defend them? Just as when they are fulfilled, do you enjoy some of your greatest moments in life? Play in the realm of the extreme. Raise the stakes. Your essences are life and death to you – let them be that way to your characters.

6. Don't meddle

Of course, you might be saying to yourself, "How do I not meddle? I'm the writer!" But a truthful story is going to grow from your willingness to let your characters make their own decisions, based on how you have defined them (which, after these exercises, will be in great depth). As their "parent", you have to let your children go; this is the point at which your story truly begins. DO NOT MEDDLE IN THEIR LIVES. Continually remind yourself that it's not about you. You just serve the story. Let your characters make their own decisions. If you ever find yourself not knowing what decision they might make, question your homework and rework their essences, behaviors, and stakes until their choice becomes obvious.

7. Let your characters play

Once you have developed several characters by labeling their essences, getting specific, defining their behavior, and raising the stakes, you are ready to begin to let them interact. It's like the first day at a new school, ripe with possibility. When properly developed, there is no way to predict how your characters will behave in any given situation, but they are so full of life and their own agendas that they are ready to interact with other characters who have been developed to the same level. If you have done the work to get to this place – this is where your characters will begin to write themselves.

In the final installment of this series, we'll apply each of the seven steps to a specific example so you can see how this approach unfolds within the context of an actual story line.

In the meantime writers, keep your rear in the chair, your fingers on the keys, and your writing reaching for the stars.

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Corey Blake
Corey Blake

Corey Blake is President of Writers of the Round Table, Inc., a unique literary development and author management company that assists best-selling authors, directors, executives, magazines, publishers and producers to generate writing content of substantial quality and bring it to market. Visit Writers of the Round Table, Inc., to receive a free quote on how we can help you bring YOUR characters to life!

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