Crafting Effective Characters Part Two

Master authors through the centuries have already devised guidelines for thousands of successful characters, firmly grounded in a range of types which have been proven again and again. If you examine any number of works of literature with this in mind, you’ll find it immediately to be true: in all the numerous characters which stories through the ages have created, there are certain specific and detailed guidelines which it seems that the most successful authors have followed, almost without exception.

These have been compiled and outlined on the Character Development Chart. This can therefore be enormously helpful, enabling you to give needed depth and realism to a fictional creation.

You’ve probably encountered advice in other writing guides which suggest that you should ask some basic questions in order to ‘develop’ a character, including things like:

• What is the usual general behaviour and physical make-up of your character?

• What is your character's likely medical condition?

• What emotion does your character normally exhibit?

• What are the sexual attitudes and attitudes to children of your character?

• To what extent does your character demonstrate command over his or her environment?

• How valuable is your character to the society in which he or she operates, as opposed to how valuable does he or she seem?

• How honest or virtuous or ethical is your character?

• How does he or she deal with truth?

• How would you describe his or her courage level?