Building Character

One of the toughest parts of writing fiction is Character Development. Years ago, I created a Character Development workbook to help me with my characters and I did it for one reason: To please the reader!

As a reader, I have two pet peeves which are: 1.) way too many grammar mistakes (one or two is acceptable because a manuscript can go through 15 editors and they all can miss the one simple mistake) and more than anything number 2.) mistakes with characters. After all, the author wrote the book, so if I can remember the color of Jane Doe’s lacy bra from chapter 4 when I’m in chapter 27, why didn’t the author? After all, I didn’t know in chapter 4 that the color of her bra was important later in the story. Why was it red in chapter 4 but as Jane remembers the moment toward the end of her story, the bra is suddenly purple.

As an author, I know that if we get in the zone while writing, we don’t want to stop at every detail and write it down. Here’s why: it is no harder to scan through our scribbled notes than it is to scan through our 300 page manuscript. So, we skip it and hope for the best. But this completely annoyed me, so I created a Character Development workbook. Before writing, most authors, including me, have an idea in mind of where the story and characters are headed. So, I created a Character Development workbook that allows me to flesh out my characters, as much as possible, before I even begin writing. It also allows me room to make changes, let my character evolve, add details as they become known, and keep up with their clothes from any major event (even if that major event is a beautiful woman showing her bra through an open window in chapter 4).

So, I’ve decided to share this invaluable tool with anyone who wants to develop a character. Yes, I know there are others out there but I believe what I have created is more put together and ready to use than those. I also believe that I’ve included details in my Character Development Planner Set that evokes a writer to think about their character in more detail than ever before. Even better, the way I have arranged this version of my most valuable tool, it can be used for non-fiction as well. The Character Development Planner Set is so detailed that you can literally do a biography and add details of the actual person in focus in the book, and all persons mentioned therein, so as to not lose track throughout the book writing journey.

The Character Development Planner Set is available on the shopping page of this website and in our Etsy Store at CrazeeChixz.

There will soon be a course available to go along with the planner set where I will share the best ways to use the planner for your work. I will teach you about how to reach the mindset of the character and how to let your character tell you what (s)he wants to do next. Believe it or not, that’s how many of the best writers write. Our characters speak to us and no matter how long we have had a certain detail in mind, sometimes our character screams, “I HAVE EVOLVED!!!!! DO YOU REALLY THINK I WOULD DO THAT NOW?!?!” Followed by, “You don’t know me at all,” just like a teenager would whine it to a parent who is trying to do the best for their child. So, yes, your character will evolve and you must let him/her. You must also keep track of that evolution.

Therefore, even if it ruins your original idea, your story will be better if you do two things: 1.) Let your characters evolve and 2.) Remember what color their damn lacy bra was in chapter 4.

Published by Daphne M. Matthews

I have published one young adult novel, "Only Seventeen" - now in its 2nd edition; a pictorial history for Arcadia Publishing: "Images of America: Hiltons" which showcases older photos and stories of a community not far from me; short stories, poems, and children's books. My newest book, "Lost Restaurant's of the Tri-Cities, Tennessee" showcases some of the most beloved restaurants of times past and present.

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