Rounding out characters

Question: I keep coming up with things for my main character like what happened to her and what she's going through but I have like 4 or 5 other characters that are very important but haven't really come up with anything for them right now they're just there and if they go through something it's because it has to do with the main character. How do I fix this?

Answer: Some writers like to work with a fixed set of questions to ask themselves about each character. These can range from questions about simple external traits, such as "What colour is his eyes?" "What kind of house does he live in?" or "What's his favourite food?"
to deeper internal matters, such as "What was the worst thing that ever happened to him?" "How does he react under pressure?" or "What is his greatest fear or ambition?"

I suggest you start with what you know about each character. Working from these facts, spend some time creating a list of questions that cover all the aspects of the character you don't know. Spend some time on this.

Then, in a separate writing session, brainstorm lists of possible answers for each question. All answers are good, and more is better.

Finally, perhaps in a different session, select which answers you like best and that work well together. Use these as the bases of a character sketch or file.

Feel free to repeat this process more than once with each character.

It may take some time, but it will be time well spent as your characters will get considerably more fleshed out and your story will feel more believable.

It may also help to consider that each character has his own journey through the story. What do they do when the main character is not around? You might sketch out a timeline for each character. This will help you to make their appearances more authentic as well.

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