Character Development

I recently published five novels on Amazon.com. All five books were written in the first person. While that seems a bit one dimensional, I made the books more dimensional by heading each chapter by a different character.

For example, in my Paranormal Romance “Remember The Eyes” (Book 1), I headed each chapter with either the male or female character. Then in the second book in the series, my female character was kidnapped. I had to add how that made the male character feel so I would head that chapter with him, showing what he was going through while the female character was gone. If I left the story just in the female characters point of view, the story would have been one dimensional and you wouldn’t have learned anything about them and the way they were thinking and feeling. I even headed some chapters with one of the “bad guys”, to show what she was thinking and feeling at the time.

I’ve read some books recently where the character development was lacking, making them very one dimensional. There was the main female characters voice throughout the whole story, but that was it. There was nothing about the main male character nor any of the supporting characters. You knew they were there because they were speaking, but you never learned anything about them making the story completely one dimensional.

My tips:

1. If you can’t write your story in a multi-dimensional way, showing each characters thoughts and feelings, creating that much needed character development, then write in the third person. This way, everyone in the story will get a chance to be heard.

2. Let your characters live their lives. You don’t want cardboard cut-out characters, therefore, change up your characters from one book to the next.

3. Make your characters be believable. They must change and grow and even experience setbacks and improvements.

I’ve decided to branch out and do something a little different. My WIP right now is done in the third person, showing several different characters and their lives within this story. I’m showing memories, thoughts and the feelings of four main characters as they are all stuck in different places. If I wrote this novel one dimensionally and didn’t show any character development, you’d never know what the other characters in the story were thinking and feeling.

Meeting a well written character, who grows and develops throughout the story, will leave a lasting impression on you, making you want to read more.

Check out this website the next time you write a story. http://www.the-writers-craft.com/support-files/character.pdf

Stories are supposed to be multi-dimensional with character development. Don’t let yours fall flat.

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This entry was posted in Advice, Writing by Beth Muscat. Bookmark the permalink.

About Beth Muscat

I'm a wife, mother, writer and a blogger. I have five novels published at Amazon.com and a couple more in the works right now. I've got so many great friends that have helped me achieve my writing goals, and I've still got a lot to learn. They're all terrific people, some of them bestselling authors and some just starting out like me. I've got five books out as e-books: 1. "Wildflower" is a Contemporary Romance, a sexy love story about a younger man and an older woman 2. "Remember The Eyes" is a Paranormal Romance, and Book One in a series. 3. "Nothing Without You" is Book Two 4. "Infinite", is Book Three. Each book revolves around Riley and Michael, the love they share together and even the discoveries made with each other. 5. "The Bracelet", a Fantasy Romance about a woman torn between two worlds.

9 thoughts on “Character Development

  1. I love first person narrators. I’ve read so many great books that are in first person and only from the main character’s POV. It mimics real life. We can’t get in the heads of those around us. We can only interpret their thoughts and feelings from what we observe. I don’t think that makes us one-dimensional. Now if an MC is completely oblivious to the world around them, then there would be problems with the narration.

    • Good point, Kelly. I guess I’ve read the bad ones that had no real growth and seemed to just stumble through the story. I love writing in the first person. But, I guess when I wrote all my characters, I wanted to show the reader how they were feeling throughout the story. When I first originally wrote “Remember The Eyes”, it was written in the main female’s voice. But, when I wrote the second one, and discovered that when she was kidnapped, I needed to show how the main male was thinking and feeling, that’s when I knew that I had to go back and add in chapters in his voice in the first book.

      And, yes…I guess it does mimic real life, but, I also think that we, as readers, need to be able to know what all the characters are thinking. I guess that’s what I was going for.

    • Ah, yes….when it’s done right. I found with your book, “Final Hours” that the first person writing was so well done that you didn’t notice that it was even done in first person. Obviously I see some advantages, since I did five books in first person, but I also see advantages to the third person POV. It has to be done right, or it just seems one dimensional and flat.

  2. Beth and Norma: I admire how you are able to write in the first person so well. I might attempt it eventually but third person is what always felt natural to me.

    • I think it was easy for me to put myself in the characters shoes easier than in the third person. I feel a bit “disconnected” to my characters I’m using right now…but, I do like how the story is going this way. I think the other stories, because they take place over a longer period of time, it was easier than the story I’m doing now which takes place over only one day. I decided it would be like hell trying to get everyone’s thoughts and feelings down if I just went by chapters.

    • Mike, for a long time I didn’t even want to try it–but Final Hours was a book that just seemed to have to be written in first person. Next I want to try multiple first-person.

      And thank you both for the praise, even if my ego is already overfed….

  3. I think I’m doing this by having small chapters, each like a different scene and most of them are from a different character’s point of view. I love your new blog it looks very nice with the giant kittens! Good luck with your new story!

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