- Concreteness: Ensure that all the characters have specific homes, habits, possessions, opinions and history. Along with creating these characteristics, these aspects should also talk about the storyline, be it something about the character’s nature of it’s socio-cultural background.
- Symbolic association: A character’s nature can also be shown metaphorically through various objects or settings. Though these might not be understood initially but it will come to light once the story develops and the reader begins to understand the character.
- Speech: The character’s manner and the way it speaks also indicates towards the person’s character: shy and reticent, aggressive and frank, coy, humorous. Both content and manner of speech reflects the character’s social and ethnic background without stereotyping. If a character is inarticulate, that in itself should convey something.
- Behaviour: The way a character behaves around its surroundings says a lot about their nature. From table manners to the way they react to a situation, everything should say more about the character’s nature and yet be consistent in how it has been portrayed so far.
- Growth: If a characters grows or changes, there should be sufficient information given about what instigated the change and how is the character reacting to it. Even if you want to show a change in a character, bare in mind that only an aspect can change and not the entire personality. A particular event can trigger small change in the character’s thoughts or beliefs but it will still not change what the character stands for, that would be difficult for the readers to digest.
The Character Resume
One useful way to learn more about your characters is to fill out a “resume” for them, at least for important characters. Such a resume might include the following information:
Address & Phone Number:
Date & Place of Birth:
Parents’ Names & Occupations:
Other Family Members:
Spouse or Lover:
Friends’ Names & Occupations:
Personal Qualities (imagination, taste, etc.):
Sense of Humor:
Most Painful Setback/Disappointment:
Most Instructive/Meaningful Experience:
Health/Physical Condition/Distinguishing Marks/Disabilities:
Tastes in food, drink, art, music, literature, decor, clothing:
Attitude toward Life:
Attitude toward Death:
Philosophy of Life (in a phrase):
It is not important to answer all these characteristics and there might be some that you would want to add here, based on you plot, but a list or resume like this can help you keep a check while you are still developing a character. The resume serves a useful purpose in your project bible, reminding you of the countless details you need to keep straight.
One of the ways to know whether your characters are plausible and acceptable by the audience is to have someone else read it. you might want to use the services of professional structural editors, who can help you develop your manuscript and give an in-depth assessment of it.