This past weekend, I went to the 2010 Springmingle conference sponsored by the Southern Breeze SCBWI chapter.
Cheryl Klein, senior editor of Arthur A. Levine Books (a Scholastic imprint), led an interesting workshop called “Dimensions of Character.”
I’m a plotter first, which means my character arcs come second after the plot idea. I don’t concentrate on character sketches or bios — like I shared in a previous post, Character Development.
However, Cheryl Klein did have some great tips on how to develop your character, which included a checklist. Something I can definitely find useful in the future. Here are a few that resonated with me:
- What are the internal qualities (personality, ethics, morals, degree of self-awareness)?
- What does your character want? (which to me is very important — it’s what drives your story).
- What keeps your character alive?
- What is your character’s pain?
Here are some other gems that I also got from the workshop:
- What the character sees and observes can show character development.
- Characters can show positive energy or show “interesting” negative energy to draw empathy or intrigue from readers.
- As a writer, characters take honesty and time.
There are many ways to develop your characters in your story. Your goal as a writer is to find the tools you need to grow your character off the page and into your reader’s heart.