Let’s discuss character development. (A variation of this post will also be found on Hadassah Books)
One of the things I tend to do A LOT when writing is not work on my characters beforehand. Most people recommend developing characters when creating an outline (something else I never do). I think one of my personal reasons for avoiding this is because I was never really good at it while growing up.
I was homeschooled my whole life. I only stepped foot in a private, Christian school at the age of 13, but it was only for a few months, and I was not even in my parents’ custody at the time. One of the things that was always hard for me was oral description, as well as written. This was possibly a result for my lack of interest in reading. As previously mentioned (I believe), I did not truly become interested in reading until my sister handed me a book and said “You will love this book.”
Now, character development is quite crucial, because it helps the readers visualize the story. Proper character development comes through description. This is something I am still learning, but a good example would have to be from my favorite Adult Fantasy series, Everealm, by J.D. Wright. Every aspect of those first three installments is amazing. Granted, there are details that might be considered extremely graphic, but they fit the genre.
That is one of the things about character development. The description and details must go with the setting of the novel/story, and fit into the scenario you are writing. I am currently writing a new novel that will be categorized as Historical fiction. However, it is a fairy-tale re-telling, which means it may or may not contain fantasy elements, or even paranormal/supernatural elements.
I was trying to give a proper description of the prince in the story, and found myself looking at an actor’s photograph and describing what I was looking at. This particular actor was who I envisioned as the prince, so it was working rather well. One of the things I found myself describing was the prince’s eye color. The actor has Heterochromia Iridis, so this made me work at my description. I found myself looking up words that would fit the era that I set my novel (Medieval), so that it would not seem to modern and so my description would make sense. I also needed to make sure I was using the proper phrases in Russian. O.O Because though the novel will be written in proper English, I have several Russian saying all throughout.
Descriptions are still hard for me, and most of my writing still lacks in this area. But that does not stop me from trying to perfect it. I thought that I might share this with you. I am not an expert, nor do I take any credit for any information I find. I merely like sharing it with others.