Character Development

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
― Helen Keller

Character development is an important part of writing or reading a novel. It may start as soon as the first page is turned, or it might not be shown until the end of the book. Either way, characters of a book, whether it be written or read, should always be developed further. Character development is creating a character’s background, personality, appearance, and further changing them as they go through hardships and tough trials. That is how character development is. 

We develop our characters by describing them. Appearance, personality, background, their past, and their physical and mental shape. All characters should developed in books. As we follow them throughout the book, characters will be revealed. It can be a slow process, finding out the character’s personality and describing their appearance, their attitude towards things that seem almost impossible, or hard. 

We cannot go through a book that does not have character development. Is it possible to read a book and not know anything about the character that we are reading about? No. We have to know what they look like, how they act, their internal and external motivations and conflicts. We need to know to them, personality-wise. It would be no fun to read through and entire book and in the end, not understand the character, or characters, at all! 

Background is also important. All characters have a past, ones that they will either be ashamed of and hide away, or ones that they are happy to have. If characters have constant struggles with their past, we, the readers, should understand sooner of later what those struggles are. What caused the character to be ashamed of their past? What made them the way they are now? 

It can be a slow process, tiny clips of their past being revealed, one day becoming a puzzle solved. After all, characters should be puzzled if there are characters that have inner-conflict with themselves because of their past. It should develop further. . . 

And wouldn’t we like to know if the character has red or brown hair? Hazel or blue eyes? Maybe a mix of both? Characters’ appearances should further develop until they are described. Hair color, eye color, skin color. These are all important developments so that we can have a mental picture of what the character look likes. Otherwise we just go through the entire book not really finding out what the character looks like. 

One tiny detail can paint an entire picture for us about the characters. 

Character development is a long process. Usually, if it is in a series, we learn something new about the character(s), whatever it be. Characters can be developed by an explanation, an action, or something that makes them do something, which will make them grow to become a more realistic person. The characters we read about or write about should expand as we dive deeper into the printed pages. Character development is an essential of writing a novel.

Character Development

Characteristics For Characters

Humble. Kind. Trustworthy. Caring.

These are all characteristics, or traits. Characteristics distinguish us, and book characters, by giving them unique qualities and attributes. Characteristics are the things that make us who we are, whether we be loving or modest, it’s a characteristic. And when it comes to creating a book, movie, or play character, characteristics are an important part of doing so.

When we create a book character, or rather read about a book character, we want them to have this uniqueness to them, something that makes them different from the others. Each character should be different. Otherwise, if they were all the same, it would just come out as boring and. . . dull, as simply put. There is nothing better than having a character that is special in their own way, something that we can distinguish from the rest of the characters. We want our characters to be honest, and/or caring, and many other things.

We want our characters to be one of a kind.

If every book, movie, and/or play had the exact same character, wouldn’t it get tiring? Wouldn’t you be bored? Wouldn’t you eventually lose interest? That is exactly why we need characteristics for our characters. And trust me when I say, there are plenty of characteristics to make an array of different characters.

Smart. Courageous. Brave. Determined. The list goes on and on and on. There is no possible way for me to list every single characteristic, but I have listed a few of them in this post already. There’s a possibility that we can never run out of characteristics to make our characters.

We all want to open up a book to the first page, and know that the story will be different. Different plot, different characters, different genres. We do not want every book to have a character that is kind, caring, and intelligent. Why not have a distinct variety of characters? Unless the book’s sole purpose is to have each and every character be completely the same, then we need to have the unique individuals.

There is no reason not to.

I mean, depending on the book, the character might need to be brave, or clever, or both. The character might need to charming, but clumsy, and the villain might need to arrogant and caustic. The girl might need to be compassionate, and decisive, because, let’s face it, a lot of people do not like indecisive characters.

Books might need elegant queens, idealistic villains, and humble servants. Each character needs characteristics to make them them. We need good characteristics for heroes and the good ones, and bad, or misunderstood, characteristics for villains. It depends on the book you read or write, or the movie you watch.

And this is not just in book or movie characters. We have characteristics too. These are what make us unique. Maybe I got you thinking about your own characteristics, your own traits. Or maybe you’re thinking about a book you might be writing or reading, and you are thinking about the characters.

Whatever it be, they should be unique.

Characteristics

The Many Different Characters of Fiction

Without characters, we wouldn’t have books, movies, or plays. But in this case, we’re talking about book characters. 

Let’s face it, characters are great. Most of them, anyway. Characters are the people we follow through the pages of a book, the people we journey with through thick and thin. We know everything they know, sometimes even more. And we always cry when a sad part comes up, or laugh when there’s an especially funny moment during the chapter. I mean, what could we do without characters? 

Books wouldn’t even exist. Except for maybe school books and encyclopedias and dictionaries. But we wouldn’t have those amazing books where we hide from our troubles and enter a totally different world, one where anything can happen. Characters are one of the most important things in fiction and non-fiction. In fact, they are a necessity when it comes to writing a novel. 

Characters are wonderful, and we can do anything we want with them. When writing a book, we can make the character unique and different in their own way. We can make them perfect or flawed, prissy or tomboyish. We can even make them intelligent and perceptive, or a complete bonehead at that. Characters can be anything we want them to be. As long as we have imagination and creativity to guide us along the way. 

They are made when an author dreams up an individual, and adds a personality, appearance, and a story to go along with it. I think an important part of having a character is that sooner or later they should experience a physical, mental, or emotional change. It’s called development, and each and every character of fiction or non-fiction deserves to experience just that. Development. 

Yet, there isn’t just a hero and a villain. There’s so much more than that. I am pretty sure that everyone has read at least one book that has more than just the hero and villain. There’s a lot more to it, and that’s exactly what I want to talk about in today’s post. 

First off, we have the protagonist. The hero/heroine, the main character. The protagonist is the person we follow from the beginning to the end. They are the one that the story revolves around, and they are important to the story. We can’t have a story without them. 

The protagonist can be the one that saves the day, whether it be visible or hidden from the beginning. They’re the ones that usually fight and win and prosper after defeating the evil side. We might know that they’re going to be the hero, sometimes it’s a little more shadowed from the reader’s eyes. Without the protagonist, there would be no story. 

Then we have the antagonist, the evil one, the villain. The very bane to the existence of the protagonist. They destroy, demolish, obliterate, and ruin everything. At least until the hero arrives and saves the day (which may or may not happen.) But either way, the antagonist is just another way of saying wickedly evil. 

Usually, the antagonist will do something, destroy something, or perhaps do something very, very bad. They are necessary to the story, usually. It just depends on the story. Anyway, without the antagonist, we don’t have a good story. There (usually) absolutely has to be something to motivate the antagonist. The Hades to our Hercules. 

But I am just going to go ahead and say it. It’s sometimes hard to hate the antagonist. I mean, come on, who can hate Heath Ledger as the Joker? (Rest In Peace, Heath Ledger) 

Joker

There’s a lot more characters in books. Maybe more than one protagonist, or more than one antagonist. We have a range of characters that doesn’t limit us to just two characters, a hero and a villain. In books, we also have minor characters. They are not the main character, they are not the villain. They are simply on the sidelines, but they are there for a reason. 

In dramas, we have the deuteragonist, the second most important characters. I am not very experienced in the drama department, so I cannot write about something I don’t know much about. We also have the tritagonist, which translates as the third most important characters. Pretty interesting, huh?

I love minor characters though, and I am sure that a lot of people will agree with me on this one. Batman is the protagonist, but we still love Robin (he might not be a minor character, but the story doesn’t revolve around him.) Robin’s pretty great. There’s not many sidekicks that get their own comic series. 

I can go on and on and on all day about the many different characters of fiction and non-fiction, never stopping until I name each and every one of them. But this post has got to end sooner or later. But hopefully I got you thinking about how important characters are. There isn’t just the major characters that the story revolves around. There are the minor characters, quietly waiting in the shadows until they can have a little spotlight moment. 

Characters are great, and we cannot help but love most of them.