How Do Your Characters Move?

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 BradleyCharacter Development & Movement in Fiction. Check it out for yourself here and tell me what you think.

So, what do your characters look like?

This?Photo courtesy of & Google            Or, this?Clip Art

I’d love to hear your comments. Talk to me. Tell me your story. And as always, you can follow me on Facebook  at SheilaMGood and  Twitter @cofcmom.

Character Development

This past week I lead a discussion on LinkedIn. The topic was characters. “Where do your main characters come from?”

The most often cited method used to create characters included:people watching, a reflection of self, and family and friends. Some characters “just walked in,” and others were researched to the most minute detail. In each case the goal was always to create believable, full characters that leap off the page as story unfolds, whatever the genre.

Lillie Ammann, writer and editor has a done a great job discussing character development in her eight part series, Creating Fictional Characters. It’s worth checking out. Other resources you may find helpful include:
Holly Lisle’s, Character Workshop, and The Writer’s Resource, Motivation for Characters in Fiction.

Since last week I’ve given a second look to my own characters, making a few changes. The changes were improvements I think. However you choose to develop your characters, here’s to good, strong, full and believable characters that tell our story the way it was meant to be told.