Insider Tips to Character Development

A Stranger in FranceThis is a guest post by Kim Knight, author of “A Stranger in France“.

Kim is 33 (born in 1983), from London in the UK. She’s a qualified teacher and mother to a beautiful toddler. As a reader she’s head over heels in love with romance, historical fiction, crime fiction, African- American, suspense and thriller genre books. After submitting three chapters of a romance /suspense novel she was writing to a USA based publisher in 2016, she scored her first publishing contact. Kim’s first novel is A Stranger in France her second novella will be released Christmas 2016. As a writer Kim enjoys creating stories within the general romance, romantic suspense and crime/ thriller genres, with a diverse and multi-cultural character line up. Kim also writes beauty and book related articles published in Love Life, Live magazine.

When she’s not reading or writing novels of her own, her other passions include practising her French, fashion and spending time at her sewing machine dress making, watching make –up and beauty tutorials on YouTube, letter writing and being a mum.

www.kimknightauthor.com- author site
@kimknightauthor- Twitter
@kimknightauthoruk- Facebook

Kim Knight

Author

Getting to know characters in books, and their quirks when reading is all part of a reader’s enjoyment. I try to keep this in mind while writing. It’s so easy to get caught up in your own head, and your own vision you have of a character, and not translate it on to paper in enough detail for a reader’s enjoyment. This is the difficulty with character development.

Some of the strategies I’ve used to translate a vision of a character on to paper are firstly, to see them as totally 3D real people, secondly use the senses we have as humans to bring them alive. For example visually, what do they look like? Do they have any distinctive features? Their smell? What does their voice sound like? What are their morals in life? How do they view the world? What makes them tick etc.  While writing view a character as an actual person, from the inside out, then describe them or show their quirks as people as best you can.

It can also be helpful to do a character profile before you start your story, to help build up your character and writing before storytelling. You never know you may actually take your story in a new exciting direction, or add some extra twists by doing this first. There are lots of resources online to help you draw up character profiles, if you do a simple Google search.  Interview your characters and make notes in a character note book- which you can refer to as you write your story.

Sometimes character development can be seen as giving a long backstory on a character, and their past, this does help- but try not to go overboard on backstory. If a bit of backstory does not help to develop the story as a whole going forward, or the character going forward I take it out, it’s wasted word count.

When it comes to writing the point of view (POV) of a character, the best bit of advice I was given is to just become that character to the bone. If they’re mean- get mean, if they’re strong- get pumped up!  How do would your character (not you) react to what’s happening in your story? And if you’re writing the POV of the opposite sex to what you are, try to literally think like that gender- without stereotyping. Keep your character’s POV in line with your character’s traits and beliefs not your own.

Give your readers enough to work with to decide if they like your character or not. If your character is not meant to be likeable show it, don’t be afraid.

Subscribe to our book recommendations