Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Hardest thing about Character Development

  Hazel West, author of the great YA Historical Fiction novel On a Foreign Field, shares some insights on character development.  Hazel is lucky to live in Florida and has always been fascinated with the brave men and women who have graced the pages in history.

Hardest Thing About Character Development 

Character development is one of those things that is so critical to a story, but it’s also probably one of the hardest things to crack down on for beginning writers. It’s so important because readers connect with the characters in a story more than anything else. One might even be able to forgive an uninteresting or poorly crafted plot if the characters are crafted well enough and are likable. I know for myself, a character might change from who they were in the beginning of the book to a completely different person in the end. Sometimes this works for the story, but other times, I find myself having to go back and fix things that are out of character to who that person has become. Some characters are just stubborn and don’t want to be who you thought they were. My best advice on that matter is listen to your character. They know what they’re talking about.

            I know for myself, I read books for the characters. Sure, I love a good plot, but it’s the characters I care about above all else. As a writer I don’t only make sure I have a sound and interesting plot, I make sure I lovingly craft a cast to fit it; characters who a reader will be able to identify with. Some come more peacefully than others and there will always be some you can relate to more easily. Another hard thing about character development is in using characters who you may not be able to relate to. We do pull from our own experiences to write emotions, and we always put a little part of ourselves into our characters, but sometimes, we have to look outside the box to craft a character we may not relate to at all. Making them seem real, can be a challenge, but I encourage writers to create hard characters because you will end up being a stronger writer for it.

            Character development is one of those things that really just takes practice. No one can expect their first book and first characters to be perfect. My best advice on learning how to make good characters is to watch people, see how they react, think about people you know who share similarities with your characters or even other characters from your favorite books. Writing backstories or journals for your characters is also a great way to get to know them and the kind of people they really are. Don’t think of them as fictional characters, think of them as real people. Sit down and chat with them for a while and you’ll find that before long, they’re writing the story for you!

Hazel West can be found online at:
Author Link: Character Purgatory -
Purchase Link:
Link to Tour on Main Site:


Hazel West said...

If you think I'm lucky to live in Florida, you can trade places with me, haha ;) Thanks for hosting again!

Unknown said...

Thank you for hosting Hazel :)