Emotionally attached to fictional characters

Character development can be challenging. You have a character. You’ve given them a name and some physical details, but you want your audience to connect with them on a deeper level. When I’m reading a story, my connection with them grows when I get a glimpse inside their head.

Make a list of characters you like from different books you enjoyed. What was it about them that made you grow an attachment? Are they forgetful? Do they spend an entire work day, wondering whether or not they switched off their straightening iron? Did they worry about the impression they made at an interview? Do they bite their nails when they’re anxious?

Define the character are you working on?

Is it your protagonist or antagonist? Think about what makes your character interesting for better or worse? To start out on an easier note, let’s pretend you’re making a new friend. I’ve included the questions below to help you dig a little deeper. Keep in mind you want your audience to become emotionally invested in your character.

It’s Coffee Talk Time

A couple of people sitting directly across from each other with a cup of coffee.

Observational Questions

  • How do they act when they are happy, excited, in love, sad, or angry?
  • What kind of gestures do they make in conjunction with these emotions?
  • Do they have any tattoos or noticeable scars?
  • How do they typically dress?

Interpersonal Questions

  • What is one of your biggest pet peeves?
  • The song you blast when you’re happy?
  • Favorite bar/restaurant you enjoy?
  • Beverage of choice?
  • Do you like to travel? Where have you been?
  • Do you have pets? What kind? How many?
  • Do you have children? What are their names and how old are they?
  • Are you close to you family? Any specific member you call when times get tough or unbearable? Why?
  • Who do you spend your holidays with?
  • Are you religious or spiritual?
  • Do you play or watch sports?
  • What do you do when you’re stressed out?
  • What languages do you speak?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Do you have a nickname? How did you get it?
  • What is your favorite appetizer?
  • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What is your favorite vacation spot?
  • Happiest moment of your life? Worst?
  • How do you see the world? Is the glass half empty or half full?
  • What’s your greatest fear?
  • What is one of your biggest regrets?

Conclusion

These questions may only scratch the surface of getting to know your character. Let me turn this over to you now. What else do you want to know about them? Think back on how you got to know your own friends. How can you integrate them into your character? Maybe put some of yourself in them. Try putting them in a scene.

Here’s an example. Allow them to sit alone in a restaurant. What do they notice about other people around them? Is your character comfortable or embarrassed sitting in a booth by themselves? Why do they feel that way? An inner dialogue will help you determine what they’re missing.

With practice, you’ll be able to create a well-developed character. Let me know how you go about creating your fictional character. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I hope you found this information helpful.

3 thoughts on “Character Development

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