Category Archives: Character Development

Character Development Class Finished

Eight weeks ago I signed up for a Character Development class. I had taken this instructor before and had learned a lot from him. In the short span the following was taught:

-Character Development

-Creating Real Life Characters

-Bringing a Character to Life

-Characters creating the plot

-The Villain

-The Character/Inner Life

The last two weeks we concentrated on the story that was growing by each passing session. We had a story that had been created by groups and the overall story that as individuals we were nurturing.

By the time the class ended I had a story of over 5K words. It is in a genre that I have never truly tried before which is action and drama. Well not one of this length anyway. The critiques the class gave me on the last day when I read the WIP was favorable and I will probably when there is time, feel free to laugh here, to expand it into a novel.

This class has caused me much sorry and joy. I truly had a love hate relationship with it. There would be weeks where my teacher would say “ Yes yes you nailed it.” to “No, you missed the boat this time.”

I learned that there is so much more for me to discover. Also it showed me that there are some aspects that I am getting right. In the last eight weeks I have shared with you my class notes taken each time there was a lecture. I hope some of what was shared on this blog has helped someone along the way.

Telling him I would take this class again my instructor asked why. Simple answer really. Every time a class is taken over, I am starting at a different place with a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. I have never worked this hard for a writing class in my life. That is a good thing, right?

By doing so I had growth in my writing.

Critique Form

My instructor passed out a form for us to critique the work of others.

I thought we could pass this form to our beta readers. They can use it as a guideline. We could use it ourselves and see if we are spotty in some areas. Each section is worth five points for a total of 20 points.


-Attention needs to be paid to plot development

-The story lacks credibility in places

-Good start/good ideas but loses direction and force

-The story holds interest throughout but the ending is disappointing

-Flows smoothly,well researched, almost there

-This is a well-crafted story and it is clear that the author has considered all the aspects of the plot


-The characters do not always come over as real people

-Told from the viewpoint of too many characters, so that the readers learns little about them

-In general, the characters are believable , although there is room for improvement

-The characters are well drawn and true to life/does the character have an inner life

-Strong characterization means that the reader’s sympathies are instantly engaged.


-The story starts slowly

-The story needs a more varied pace

-Side-issues slow the story down

-In general, the story moves well, although there are times when interest wavers

-A good pace is maintained throughout

-This story’s page-turning quality is excellent


-The characters all tend to speak with the same voice

-Some attention should be given to the dialogue, which does not always ring true

-Although the dialogue is believable, there are places where it serves no obvious purpose

-In general, the dialogue sounds authentic

-the sharply written dialogue reveals much about the characters

-The dialogue is excellent, adding a sparking dimension to the story

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.