Here it is people, the second part of the 4 Necessary Pieces for Character Devlopment. You can find Part 1 here and catch up if you missed it.
If not, I won’t keep you waiting any longer. I’ll just dive right in!
3. Personality — Why does this person do what they do?
This is another obvious one. Is he calm? Is he hostile? Is he a loner? The strong silent type? Insecure? The possibilities are endless. It’s not important what type of personality you give him, it’s only important that you give him as many kinds of personality types/traits that’s different from the rest of your characters.
With the personal history, these can combine to make some very interesting characters. Back to Nico:
- He’s a mix of Russian and Italian heritage, raised by people not very far removed from the old country. Adding in the very aggressive and sometimes hostile personality that I gave him it gives me this. A very hot blooded young man who is not only willing to fight for what he believes in, but he’s also very protective. The opposite side to that coin, is that he can be very cold and cunning when necessary and often times a harsh and spiteful man.
Now, I could have mixed his heritage and personality traits in any way that I chose, but the fact that he’s a powerfully built aggressive man who comes from ethnic and cultural heritages that often endorse aggressiveness and the occasional bout of violence added to the story that I needed to tell.
4. Motivation — What does this person want?
What is the person striving for in this story? Once you figure out what they want, then it’s the biggest reference to decide how your character is going to react to the events in you novel. Think about the possibilities. If you write romance, does your protagonist want a real relationship or just a quick fling? If an adventure novel, is he looking for riches or a thrill. If you’re writing a dark fantasy novel like mine is the character looking for power, or to just survive the story?
In the case of Nico:
- I wrote him as a young man who moves to Los Angeles so that he could get a fresh start. He craved anonymity, and while the antagonist works very hard to stop that for him, Nico holds out hope that he can have a new life.
Does Nico get his new life? Does he die? Does he become an astronaut and fly to the moon?
I’m not going to bother to answer, because the answer doesn’t matter in this case. The answers are only incidental to the story. If you have an answer to these questions, work backwards to develop your character. If you thought up your characters first, work forward toward the story that you want.
I’m telling you people, with these four devices fleshed out the mobility you gain in story creation will take you very, very far.
Who said writer’s block was so big and bad, anyways?
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