Category Archives: Anti-hero

Inner Life of A Character

The Inner Life of Your Character

These are the notes from my Character Development class , week 6

One must try to write the character to where the reader can

-relate to the them

-knows someone like them

Outer life vs Inner life

Outer life- it is more the physical description, the surface details of one’s characters

Inner life-this tells the reader what the character is about

Works of fiction is bringing intimacy to the pages. As writers it is our job to foster that which will help

fast forward our characters.  We are in charge of creating a character it is not for our readers to do that.

Writers tend to stop with the basic character description without giving them life. Is the dialogue

believable? In the speaking one can give more details of our characters. The reader when reading must

feel our characters are real or could be real live people that they can come across in the street.  You need to cover every aspect of their lives, go the extra mile when dissecting them.

Imagine them as being your heroes that you had growing up. What did you look up to them, what was it about them that made you want to be like them? Use this for your villain and hero if you can.

Conversation focus- By observing what they talk about. Can you get a vivid image of what they are saying?

Try listening to people talking as you go about your daily activities. Try to really listen for just a minute

or two.

Allocation of time- How does your character spend their day. What is their norm and routine? How much time is spent doing each activity? What are their habits? Do they have regrets? Do they hold

grudges? What do they do and why? Do they have any dreams and if so of what? What are their goals?

These are just some of the questions we can ask about our characters to make them less superficial.

Every character needs change in the story but it is recommended to make it slow and gradual instead of

all at once.

A way to kick-start the inner life of your characters is ask some of the questions below

-What makes them afraid and why

-What lead up to this?

-What is important to them?

-What secrets/quirks do they have and why

-Three or four words to describe them

-Are they successful in their endeavors and why

-Do they act one way to some and different to others?

-Are they materialistic?

-Show don’t tell their clothing, how they carry themselves, how they speak and what kind of person they are.

These are just some ways to bring the inner life of your character to the fore front.

Use this with each of your major characters. If you use it for the minor characters, you might derail the story.

I have two more sessions left and this class will be done.

The Villain- Part 1



These are my notes from week 5 of my Character Development class. Again the notes ran long so this will be a two parter.

The villain can be a situation such as stress, sweat, nerves etc. You have to make it a problem for the hero else it will fall flat.

What would you consider the villain to be like is something you need to ask yourself when creating this character.

-The dark side can be the high light of the story

-What seeds did you plant to lay the brickwork that lead to your villain?

-Evil can be situational or can be a person

-When you start creating a villain it is best you don’t show them early in the storyline but instead plant

the seeds. Give the reader suspense.

-Villain vs hero should be written in the first few pages of your storyline. But for the villain make it an image.


Some classic ways to show this is

-the villain enjoys the hero being in pain or sorrow

-focus on the personality and qualities vs the dramatic function of the villain

-get to the root of the characters for both hero and villain


Villain- This character has a very specific function in the story. Make him/her part of the story and by doing so show the personality. Break this character down to the core like you would the hero.

There are 4 elements to a villain

-Antagonist- your anti-hero

-Influence Characters- how they influence the good guy

-Second Most Central Characters

-Bad guy- This you show by the qualities they have and how they are depicted in the story



Antagonist- The goal is to prevent the hero from achieving their goal

-One way is to beat the hero to the prize

-Just disagreeing with the hero can be one way.


People will see the guy who is right as the hero and the one who isn’t as the antagonist

Bad guy-Does not mean he wallows in trouble but ask why they did it. How did they feel about the


Sometimes the dark side come across as


-gang related



-when bad things happen

This all shapes the villain. It does not have to be specific. They could be the star of the story line if you over shadow your hero. Or your characters could flip-flop from being hero at the beginning and then the villain at the end.

How you want your villain to be in the story has to match up through to the end, any questions you have out there needs to be answered.  In a nutshell, a villain is nailed by their personality type, to do that get to the root of their character. Where are they from, why are they the way they are.