Writing Techniques: Character Development

One of the things that came to me pretty quickly when I started writing was a technique for developing characters. I saw a quote posted by Lauralee Bliss on her Facebook page – “Plot builds character” – and realized it was quite true. Turmoil in the lives of the characters allows them to act in ways that reveal what’s in their hearts. But how do you organize it?

Act like a reporter. Ask and answer the five Ws and you’ll get ahead in your writing.

Who – Identify the character with something that makes them who they are. The first one is always their name.
What – Plot builds character, so identify a part of the plot line relevant to the character
When – it has to happen sometime in the course of the story. Identify when.
Where – There’s always a setting. Describe it.
Why – There’s always a reason for the What. Describe it here it short detail.

Then repeat. Fill the page with the character’s details, building a plot and a background and a personality all at the same time. This is also useful for breaking up Writer’s Block logjams.