Character Developement

Question: How do I develop a character quickly without giving anything away or tell their whole life story. I need to be able to give enough insight into my character so the first scene would make sense on how they act. How do I develop a character within two or three pages?


Answer: Sometimes you just show them in action, let the reader see who they are, what they can do, how they behave. Later on in the story, you can show or explain what made them the person they are.

Readers don't mind a little mystery in the opening pages. In fact, it can be a good thing. It keeps them reading in hope of getting their questions answered.

If we are talking about the main character, it helps to show not only his/her unique abilities in the opening pages but also his/her achilles heal - some weakness that can also be a mystery, for a while.

Think about the opening sequence of the first Indiana Jones film. It's only a short space of time. But by the time Indiana escapes on the plane, we know a lot about him. We know he is skilled with booby traps, a whip, etc. We know about his expertise, his rivalries, his purposes (preserving artifacts for museums). We know how he handles challenges. We know his values (loyalty). And we know his biggest fear (snakes).

However, this sequence also leaves us with a few mysteries as well. That's okay. His background and other aspects of his character are revealed as the film progresses. And some key facts about what made him the man he is are not revealed until the third film.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero