Character Development 101

What is Character Development?

Character development is the process of creating a fully rounded, complex, and believable character within your writing with the purpose of making readers interested in them and their journey.

Other than the plot, Characters will make or break your story. So making sure you give them good traits. In this blog series, we’re going to build strong characters from scratch!

The first thing you need to know is that there are four basic types of characters: Static, Dynamic, Flat, and Round.

Types of CharactersStaticDynamicFlatRound
DescriptionCharacter that stays the same throughout the whole story.A character that changes due to the events in the story. Usually a dynamic character is also a round character.A character we know very limited information about. A complex character we know a lot of information about.
ExampleDraco Malfoy from the Harry Potter SeriesHarry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter SeriesCrabbe and Goyle from the Harry Potter SeriesHermoine Granger from the Harry Potter series

Lots of people get confused between static and flat characters, so what’s the difference?

Static characters are characters that could be significant to the story but just don’t change at all, whereas flat characters can usually be described in one word like “Teacher” “Mean” “Considerate”, their personalities are not complex. Most flat characters are static but static characters aren’t necessarily flat. Flat characters still have to serve a role in moving the plot. Static characters can be the protagonist is a story and can play major roles, while flat characters can only play side roles. An example of a flat character is Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible by Arthur Miller. While an example of a static character is Sherlock Holmes or Scar from The Lion King, They both play major roles yet their personalities don’t change/develop.

So now that you’ve determined what type of character your character is, it’s time to work on them and develop them accordingly.

How to write Dynamic Characters:

  • Make sure they have flaws, no person is perfect. Start by making a list of their traits, good and bad. Good traits: Patient, Loving, Considerate, Honest, Loyal, Respectful, Intelligent, Independent, etc. Bad traits: Arrogant, Bad-tempered, Bossy, Cruel, Dishonest, Forgetful, Hypocritical, Impolite, etc.
  • Give your characters preferences, have them have favorite foods, shows, books.
  • Give them dreams, goals and motivations. This is what keeps your story going, your characters should try to reach their goals, and you being the evil writer will make sure they’ll accomplish it in the hardest way ever.
  • Give your character a good backstory (history), You don’t have to reveal it all at once. It’s just easier to come up with character motivations and goals when you know their past.
  • Make them have enemies, weaknesses and fear. This could be other characters, mental illness, or phobias. Your characters need obstacles and conflicts for them to learn and grow.
  • Plan out how they’re going to change throughout the story, for example: His mother’s death caused character X to become distant, later on meeting character Y makes him social again. You have to know each event that causes your character to become either better or worse.

(We will get into each aspect in detail later on in future posts)

How to write Static Characters:

  • As we did with the Dynamic Characters, come up with the list of traits they have. But remember, these traits won’t change throughout the entire story, so make sure you’re satisfied with all of them.
  • Once again, give them preferences, dreams, motivations, weaknesses, and a backstory.
  • DON’T forget that these traits won’t change at all, make sure you like everything (and if you want to change anything later on, it’s not a big deal as long as your story is still a draft, so don’t get too stressed over this)

How to write Round Characters:

  • Round characters are like Dynamic characters except for one thing, they don’t need to change throughout the story, they can be round and static or round and dynamic, whatever you prefer! As long as the readers know a lot about them, they’re considered Round characters.
  • So like the Dynamic characters, write down the character’s strength and weaknesses, their motivations, their backstory, their likes and dislikes and anything you know about them.

How to write Flat Characters:

  • A Flat character is usually a character that readers don’t know much about and they usually just serve to keep the plot going.
  • So choose your character’s purpose in the story, how do they help the plot line?

Questions to help develop characters:

  • What’s their backstory? How does it affect their motivations?
  • What’s their full name?
  • What’s their nationality?
  • What are some of their hobbies?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What their deepest secret?
  • What’s their biggest dream?
  • What’s their biggest fear?
  • Do they have any medical conditions or mental illnesses?
  • Favorite food?
  • Favorite color?
  • Favorite show?
  • Favorite book?

You can download some worksheets I created to help you with the types of characters! I’ll put the link below! I’d greatly appreciate it if you could support me on my Ko-fi account, and thank you for reading this post, hope it helped!

link: https://ko-fi.com/album/Character-Development-Types-of-Character-sheets-C0C21I47G

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