Character Development: Recognizing a Flat Character
Anonymous asked: How do I actually recognize it when my characters are “flat” ?
Ask yourself the following questions
- Can I imagine the character in my own head?
- Would a reader be able to pick the character out in a lineup?
- Can I quickly think of three words to describe the character?
- Could a reader come up with three words to describe the character?
- Do you know your character’s biographical details?
- Do you know your character’s history and familial details?
- Does your character have believable flaws?
- Does your character have notable traits and mannerisms?
- Does your character have hopes and dreams?
- Does your character have a life goal before the story starts?
- Does your character have a story goal and a believable motivation to achieve that goal?
- Does your character have at least one complex relationship?
- Could you describe at least one outfit or several items of clothing that your character commonly wears?
- Do you know how your character would react to good and bad news?
- Does your character have any verbal or vocal mannerisms or traits?
- Do you know what your character would order at your favorite restaurant?
- Does your character or their circumstances change in a meaningful way by the end of the story?
- Does your character make mistakes?
- Do you have some idea of what happens to your character after the story ends?
If you can honestly answer ‘yes’ to most of these questions, odds are good that you have a well-rounded character. However, if you answer 'no’ to more than a few of these questions, you may need to try some character development exercises to flesh them out a bit further. :)