• Ryanne Harper

Tipsy Tips: Character Development


There are three major components to fiction (and some nonfiction) writing:

1. Characters

2. Plot (what those characters do)

3. Dialogue (what those characters say and, perhaps more importantly, how they say it)

So, how important is good character development?

Pretty darn important.


Why do we develop characters?

1. It's more enjoyable for the reader

2. It actually makes the writing process a little easier


If you've ever read a book, then you know all about that first point, so I'm going to focus on character development from the writer's point of view.


Taking the time to develop your main character or characters can speed things along when it comes time to plot your novel, and helps a ton when it comes to your characters making decisions.

For example, I'm a vegan. Let's say my character goes to a restaurant. I'm going to order a salad - possibly two salads (two salads is a twenty-year-old joke that is only funny to a handful of people. But they know who they are).

Anyway, if I order a steak, that would be uncharacteristic of me. I may order a steak for a couple of reasons:

1. This is a science fiction book and I have been body snatched by a carnivore

2. I'm pulling an elaborate prank of some sort

3. Maybe I'm a spy or working undercover and steak is a signal of some sort


This is a weird example, but I hope you get the idea.


A quick Lynx & LeRoux story. We had a character, Becky Crawford, who was basically perfect. A little too perfect. So perfect that we got stuck in a scene with her and wasted a lot of time deciding what to do with her. So, we took a step back and got to know her. We gave her a few quirks and, in the end, she became a well-rounded, almost perfect person, which made her more believable and, thus, perfect.


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As a free gift for you, I've also included a copy of the character development worksheet our staff writers use to really flesh out their characters. You can grab it here.