Basics of Character Development in Creative Writing

Good writing consists of more than just a good plot—you need interesting characters, too. Follow this guide to learn the right techniques for creating a living, breathing character your readers won’t forget.


Get to Know Your Character.

To create a compelling character, start by asking yourself questions about him or her. What does your character want? Who are the people he or she needs to rely on most in the story? What incidents from the past have shaped your main character’s outlook and motivations? How will these affect the characters’ decisions throughout the story? Once you’ve looked into who your character is, you can use various techniques to bring them alive on the page.


Describe Believably and Unify the Image of the Character. 

Characterization refers to creating a believable portrait of who your character is and the subtle details that make them unique. A great way to give your character depth is by describing their physical and mental characteristics in detail. Make sure these attributes remain constant throughout the story, as it will help to unify the image of the character in readers’ minds. Additionally, you should also consider if any external elements such as clothing or environment influence your character’s personality or behavior.

Theme Development

 What is Your Character’s Narrative Arc? 

Once you have developed a distinct character, it is important to give them an arc throughout the story. This is done by creating a strong theme for your character and having it appear consistently in the plot. For example, when introducing your character you may want to hint that they are struggling with loneliness or fear. As your story progresses, this same theme will help to guide them towards personal growth and ultimately resolution of the issue. Your character’s narrative arc should be clear to keep reader engagement and make them invested in completing the story.

Motivation and Goal Setting

Understanding the Why Behind Every Action. 

To create realistic characters within your story, it is important to consider what drives their actions. Establishing tangible motivations and setting clear goals will help you effectively showcase the character’s development and progress. Having a goal or ambition that your character strives towards provides a sense of purpose, which will help readers connect with them in a meaningful way. Furthermore, understanding why the character wants or needs what they do is beneficial in terms of driving the plot forward while developing an interesting dynamic between characters.

Conflict Creation

Ambiguity and Internal Conflict Brings Depth To Your Characters.

When we create a character in our story, it is important that they contain multidimensional traits. An effective way to make our characters more believable and three-dimensional is to apply a mix of ambiguity and internal conflicts. Ambiguity leaves room in the character’s backstory and allows readers to interpret the character’s origin and intent how they wish. Internal conflict allows us as writers to point out flaws and uncertainties found within the character which provides depth and realism. The inclusion of both elements can be used to emphasize the lessons learnt from their actions throughout your story, resulting in greater emotional impact for your readers. Creating vivid, memorable characters is a key part of writing a successful story. With the right techniques, you can give your character believable motivations, complex personalities, and realistic experiences that draw readers into your story and make it come alive.

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