Character development is one of the first essential steps of writing a novel and it involves creating the people who will carry out your story. There will most likely be a variety of characters needed for your story, but none as important as your lead character – your protagonist. A well-developed protagonist has much to do with the success of writing a novel.
The protagonist should be someone that your readers feel is a “real person” that they come to love (or at least like a whole lot), can relate to in many ways and will care about and think about long after they’ve turned the final page on your novel.
How to Create “Real People” for Your Novel
When writing a novel, there are many ways to go about creating characters and much has been written about it in “how to write a novel books”, sometimes in great detail. There are as many ideas about what makes a good character as there are apples on a tree. The traits of a lead character may change somewhat by the type of novel, or genre, you’re writing and by what your protagonist needs to accomplish in the novel’s plot. Still, there are a few personality traits that every lead character must possess, no matter what kind of novel you’re writing.
Writing a Novel – The Lead Character is:
- admirable – has integrity, courage, beauty, kindness, strength, etc. – leave the rotten personalities and hang-ups for the antagonist,
- relatable – create scenes that allow your character to evoke an emotional response from readers,
- realistic – portrays emotions consistent with their personality traits,
- a problem solver – someone with an over the top problem, whom readers believe is capable of solving.
Writing a Novel – Three Attributes of Every Character
I have found that the best way to begin the process of character development is by using a “top-down” method. It is composed of three elements:
- Primary Traits
- Traits that add “Complexity”, and
- Traits that Contrast Predominant Traits.