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Everyone knows that character development is one of the key necessities a good book needs to have. But once you know their name, age, birthplace, likes/dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, THEN WHAT? Now it’s time to map out their journey.
Depending on the genre you’re writing, your character’s journey may be different. For example, when generally writing a romance, you need your readers to see where the lovers meet, how they interact and/or begin to fall for each other, something that tears them apart and then something that ultimately pulls them back together in the end. All of these elements are going to help create the roadmap for your character throughout the book.
I’m going to give you an example from my series, Fallin’ for The Alpha of the Streets.
Example: After a plane crash, FBI Special Agent Savannah McKinney finds herself in a hospital with half of her short term memory erased. When she’s on her way back to her room, she walks into the room of Pharaoh Blackwell (the male main character). They share an awkward first interaction and then run into each other once again when they are both out of the hospital. After spending a lot of time together, they begin to fall for each other. Everything goes well until her memory returns and she realizes that not only is Pharaoh dangerous, he’s also the man she’s supposed to put behind bars.
I’m going to stop there, because I think you have a good idea of Savannah’s journey in book one. You know for book two, he’s probably going to find out who she really is and she’ll have to pay those consequences (whatever those may be). She’ll also have to make decisions on what she cares about more—Pharaoh or upholding the law.
PRO TIP:Whatever journey you set your characters on, they need to be taught something, teach others something and grow through it all.
How Character Flaws Can Be a Good Thing
Perfection is a fairytale. Nobody is perfect and neither should be your characters. They need to have flaws and those flaws need to attribute as to why they make the decisions they do throughout the course of your book. This too can also help deepen the twists and turns in your book.
For example, say you have a character who is spiteful. She’s the one everyone either loves to hate or hates to love. Because you know she’s spiteful, vindictive, and an all-around jelly belly, her actions to sabotage a relationship or take revenge can all drive your plot. Why does she want to sabotage a relationship? How does she do it? Who is affected when this happens?
On the flip side, say your main character is very timid and kind. What plot twists can you throw her way to make her uncomfortable, get her out of her element and grow by the end of the book or series?
PRO TIP:If you’re writing a series, you want to expose your characters’ flaws pretty early on so that your readers can not only see the problem/flaws, but also see their growth throughout their entire journey.
Give Your MC (Main Character) Goals
Again, if you’re writing a series, it is so important for your readers to feel like the main characters accomplished something throughout their journey from book one to the end. No one stays the same, your characters shouldn’t either.
Your character should have a goal and a secondary goal, whether they are consciously aware of it or not.
Example:Your MC’s (main character) main goal is to fall in love and marry a rich man and live the luxurious life she’s always dreamed of. Her secondary goal may be to isolate him from all the other females around him so that he only has eyes for her.
QUESTION:What plot twists could occur to lead her astray from her goals and what plot twists could occur to hinder her from achieving either her main or secondary goals?
Below are a few core questions to ask yourself throughout the course of writing your book:
· Is the flow/pace of the book too fast, too slow, or just right?
· Is this a standalone book or will it be part of a series? (This will determine the amount of peaks and valleys in your overall plot)
· Have I developed my character enough to know what he/she will do in any given situation?
· What is happening to my character in this scene, and how I can I make it worse?