By: Chris Winkle
The internet abounds with exercises to help storytellers develop their characters. Creators are told to write character back stories, establish motivations, and create inner fears and desires. These steps are all helpful, but none of them are irreplaceable. There are many paths to a finished character, and the shortest one will be different for every storyteller. What’s important is the end result: that you know your character well enough to portray them in your stories. But what does that endpoint look like? Here are five signs that you’ve arrived.
1. Your Character Has a Will of Their Own
Some storytellers feel like their characters talk to them. They might tell the writer what they want or where the story should go. You may not experience it that way, but a fully developed character has
will. They have their own desires and needs, and they made decisions based
on their own, internal logic.
Once your character has will, it is no longer possible to write your plot without considering their needs and desires. If you try, you’ll get to a point where you can’t imagine them doing the things you’ve outlined for them. Then you’ll have to either create a new character that would make the choice you want, or give your character a new role in the story that serves their purposes.
You don’t have to police the actions of a willful character to keep them consistent, because the character will police themselves.
2. You Can Predict Character Actions
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