- Choose a sitcom “protagonist” you’re familiar with (if you’re not familiar with any, watch a popular sitcom. Come on. Force yourself). Then take this character and turn him or her into a villain. How would you do it? What elements would you have to add or subtract? What traits does the character already possess that could be made negative if they were exaggerated or “twisted” just a little? What justification for bad acts would the altered character give?
- Describe a close friend or family member who has a significant flaw. What effect does this flaw have on you? On other people? How does it affect how the person is seen by the world at large? Can you apply what you’ve described to a fictional character you’re currently working with? What new story ideas and/or plot complications could be developed from adding this flaw?
- Go to a bus terminal or some other place with a lot of pedestrian traffic. Observe people, and write quick character sketches of them, giving them vocation and attitudes, as if they were going to be colorful secondary characters in a story you’re working on. This is a tremendous exercise for your writing muscles, and can also result in actual, usable characters. Keep these sketches in a journal or notebook for future reference.
These tips came from the course Creating Dynamic Characters
Every fiction writer will tell you—and every fiction reader instinctively knows—that compelling characters are at the heart of all good fiction. Creating believable characters and bringing them to life on the page requires observation, understanding, imagination and skill in the techniques of character development and characterization.
You will learn:
- Techniques of character development and characterization
- How to apply these skills to specific fictional characters of your own choosing