Get ready to stretch your writing muscles and by writing muscles, I mean imagination. A long time ago I remember an author tweeting about character development. It has been so long that I do not remember the author but I do remember a summarization of the message: if you know the character’s greatest fear, then you know that character. I have thought of this and have found this idea favorable because fear is what drives most humans: fear of losing family/friends, fear of water, or fear of ducks. Phobias also could provide a backstory which may or may not appear in the story.
Flat characters are hard to follow and can derail a story for readers, especially when it is the main character. Sadly, this does happen, but these exercises can help writers give depth to their characters.
Write a Journal Entry
Write about previous events or current conflicts (in your book) in which your character journals about an event that bugs them. This helps catalogue and organize their thoughts and can help add an additional layer to dialogue and characteristics. This might even be a good exercise to do when you hit writer’s block. Just stop and write a journal entry for your character in that instant of time. Talk about how they are feeling and why they are in that scenario, along with background information that made them decide to be where they are.
Interview Your Character
What better way to know your character than to interview them? Ask them the simple and difficult questions. Don’t settle for one worded answers either, ask why and create an explanation. What are their phobias? Where are they from? What is their dream date? The important thing is to have fun with it and to get a better understanding of your characters.
Strong characters can drive a story and if they are developed enough, they may even change the planned direction entirely. These characters are fun to read about and are even more enjoyable when you get a few of them in a story to bicker it out. Hope these exercises help you guys! Happy writing!