character development

by Mina Bancheva

Question: I am doing an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University UK. I submitted a piece of writing and was told that my character needed more depth. Any suggestions how to add more depth to a character?

Mina Bancheva

Answer: Tricky question without seeing the story. But generally, when we talk about depth, we are talking about a deeper layer of personality.

The external layer of character includes the physical traits, habits of dress, age, cultural background, etc.

The middle layer includes things such as likes and dislikes, idiosyncrasies, habits of behaviour, family background, skills and talents.

The inner layer includes things like the emotional drives and motivations, fears, wants and desires, thought processes, problem solving approaches, beliefs, judgements, attitudes.

The best characters have all three layers developed. It may be your instructor wants you to expose the inner layer a bit more.

Try asking yourself questions like...

What are my character's deepest desires or goals?
What unfulfilled emotional needs drive my character to pursue his/her goals?
When faced with a difficult situation, how would my character try to solve it?
How does my character judge him/herself, other people, his/her situation?

And of course... How and where should I reveal these in my story?

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.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 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