• The Wacky Writer

Building An In-Depth Character by DW Harvey


I would like to welcome guest writer, DW Harvey. Enjoy!

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Characters are a book’s lifeblood. To capture a reader’s interest, a protagonist or antagonist should feel real, genuine, and authentic, like they could step out from between the pages and come to life. A great character is someone a reader wants to get to know better and maybe take out for a cup of coffee.


A flat, one-note character can make a reader lose interest. Have you ever put down a book because you just couldn’t identify with the heroine? Did the villain seem one-dimensional?


On the other hand, a vibrant and well-rounded character, with a solid backstory and clear motivations, can help drive your narrative forward and completely hook the reader. Whether they fall in love (or hate) with them, a reader will want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.


So, where do you start? The physical aspects are probably the easiest.


· Is your character tall or short?

· Are they lanky or barrel-chested?

· Are they athletic or clumsy?

· Do they have blonde hair or red?

· Do they have blue eyes or hazel?

· Do they have any tattoos, scars, birthmarks?

Additionally, characters need to be relatable and believable, like someone you could pass by in the grocery store or the dog park. To create a rich and full-of-life character, you need to go deeper and add layers to their persona. A great way to really get to know your character is to interview them. Find out what makes them tick, what drives them.


Although a lot of this information will not end up in the pages of your book, it will help you understand your characters better and enrich your writing. There are a multitude of questions for your to ask your characters. Below are a few categories and sample questions to get you started on developing an in-depth character.

Quirks & Mannerisms

· Does your character talk fast? Do they have an accent?

· Do they play with their hair or bite their fingernails?

· Do they always (or never) say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’?

· Are they a wallflower or a social butterfly?

Family & Friends

· Does your character have a big or small family?

· Are they close to their family?

· Do they have a significant other?

· Do they have lots of friends?

· How do their family and friends shape their lives?

· Do they have a pet?

Fears

· Does your character have a specific fear like heights, spiders, or public speaking?

· What keeps them up at night?

· Are they running toward their fears or away from them?

· Are they a daredevil?

· What is something they’d never do?

Spirituality

· Is your character religious/spiritual?

· Do they believe in a higher power?

· Are they superstitious?

· Do they believe in an afterlife or reincarnation?

Emotions

· What is your character passionate about?

· Do they face their emotions or compartmentalize them?

· Do they wear their heart on their sleeve, or are they more reserved?

· Do they use jokes to deflect their feelings?

· Do they have a temper?

Education

· Is your character book smart or street smart?

· Did they finish high school or go to college?

· Were they in the military?

· Do they have a vocation?

· Are they doing what they love to do?

Likes & Dislikes

· What is their favorite music?

· Favorite book?

· Favorite sports team?

· Favorite food?

· What are their least favorite of the above?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DW Harvey writes tales of Urban Fantasy inspired by the myth, legend, and folklore of the hidden world beneath the veil of what's visible.


Website: http://dwharvey.com/

© 2020 made with love by The Wacky Writer