Every writer has experienced writer’s block. When you have a story to tell but are not really sure where or even how to start. It’s a big challenge to overcome and it can easily kill what could have been a great novel. One major problem that causes writer’s block is being unsure about how to create characters that your readers can see in their minds, relate to, and understand. Character development is a skill honed over time through practice, editing, and years of studying how other writers go about it. Here are 5 tips on character development to overcome writer’s block.
Visually Describe Your Character
It’s important to help your readers to develop their own image of the most important characters in your work. You do not have to spend a few paragraphs describing their physical appearance. Instead, you should drop these descriptions throughout the story- in dialogues especially. You can tell their age, nationality, the color of their hair and eyes, accents, piercings, tattoos, fashion sense, and so on. Do not go too deep into descriptions so that you allow readers to use their imagination too.
Backstories Aid Character Development
Backstories make your readers feel like they already know a character and what they are about. This helps to create anticipation and excitement about what they might do in certain scenarios. Backstories can center around past relationships, trauma, family ties, religious and political affiliations, skills, fears, and anger triggers. It’s important for readers to understand what the most important things are to your character.
Know Your Character Arc
The character arc is the journey of change your main character goes through in the story. It’s a sort of message or lesson for your readers. In most cases, the main character is flawed in some way. They undergo a challenge, and they end up overcoming the challenge despite their flaws. That journey of growth is the character arc. Every scene or chapter in your story should help progress your character arc.
Humanize Your Character
Make sure your readers are aware of your character’s struggles. Every character has a weakness, internal or external. You should share the dialogues they have in their minds. Dilemmas. Secrets. It also helps to raise the stakes in the story and draw your readers in. Let the readers feel the emotions the character is going through ahead of important scenes in the book. Take time to build up to such important events in the book.
The Importance of Research
Research is very important in fictional writing. This helps to develop your characters and describe them accurately. For instance, if your story touches on the main character’s career in medicine, you must do in-depth research if you are going to mention procedures they are handling. Similarly, if you are trying to describe ethnicities, you must research to avoid generalizing or using inaccurate stereotypes. The same goes for trying to describe places that exist in real life such as city streets, airports, and museums. Doing enough research before starting actual writing can help overcome writer’s block because you can always refer to your research notes for inspiration.
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