Character development is one of the most important aspects of a story and we’ve all heard about round or flat characters. But, what does that really mean?
Round (full) characters are complex, multidimensional, and often referred to as having layers. In other words, there’s more to a well-developed character than meets the eye. Think about the main character in your own work. As an author, we know the complexities of our protagonist. The trick is to bring what we envision in our heads to life on the pages.
On the other hand, flat characters (typically, a minor character) are one-dimensional and boring. What you see is what you get with these undeveloped characters. Even with a great plot, if the characters are weak, you won’t keep the interest of your readers. Readers want to be engaged, connected, and pulling for our characters. And, it’s easy, if we’re not careful, to bury our readers with pages of backstory instead of giving them the characters they desire.
So, how can we give our characters more dimension?
- Backstory –peppered throughout, not dumped. Given in large doses, anything can turn us off, even chocolate.
- Dialogue – whether, the manner in which they speak or a distinctive dialect, dialogue reveals a character’s personality, motivations, and helps move the story forward.
- Movement – how the character interacts with others and the environment tell us more than any description. I hadn’t thought about using movement, in this way, until I read the article in Flash Fiction Chronicles by April Bradley, Character Development & Movement in Fiction. Check it out for yourself here and tell me what you think.
So, what do your characters look like?