• Cassandra Giovanni

Developing Characters

For this #WritingWednesday we're talking all about character development! I have three tips to help you when you're working on writing your story.


1. Complete a Character Outline

I've used many different character outlines in the past. Some where from other authors, and others were from writing coaches. None of them worked for me. So, I just pick up a notebook and start jotting down things about the character. Each outline is different based on if the character's role is primary, secondary, or background. Typically, the more important the character is, the more information they have. I usually include the following elements because they help me to fully picture a character in my mind:

- Name

- Role in story (primary, secondary, background)

- Impact in story (negative, positive, filler, diversity)

- Age

- Occupation

- Looks (height, weight, eye color, hair color, style, etc.)

- Background (this is the who, what, where, how of the character)


For example, let's say your character is arrogant. Perhaps, you'd like them to become more humble. Here is where you can notate that as a goal. These are actually very similar to 'personas' that I create in Marketing. If you're struggling with outlining a character, I would suggest googling 'buyer personas' to get an idea of what I mean

For example, let's say your character is arrogant. Perhaps, you'd like them to become more humble. Here is where you can notate that as a goal. These are actually very similar to 'personas' that I create in Marketing. If you're struggling with outlining a character, I would suggest googling 'buyer personas' to get an idea of what I mean.


2. Create an Inspiration Board

I personally love using #Pintrest to make story aesthetics. I have a board for each of my books, and recently, Pintrest upgraded their application so that you can have sections. This is amazing . I now am able to have a different section for each character, along with boards for other pieces of information I need for inspiration such as cover inspiration, title inspiration and general things that get me in the mood to write the story. One key thing to keep in mind as you're thinking of these outlines and boards, is that not everything is going to make it into your book. The goal is for you to get to know your characters enough that you can easily write about them, figure out how they'll react to certain situations and know where you want them to go. One example is the fact that in my latest novel, Letters to Live, Brianna's mom's name is Scarlet. Her name is never mentioned in the actual story because it's just not needed, but I still know what it is. If you want to check out my Pintrest, be sure to click the social buttons and follow!


(Aesthetic for Into the Darkest Night)

3. Write Key Interactions

My writing process usually consists of writing key interactions between the primary characters in a novel before I've so much as picked out names. Usually, these are key events that drive the entire story. This are then pulled into an outline later on. The reason I like to write these interactions before I even get into the grit of the book is because it helps me to get to know the character and how they react in certain situations. It's often times their reaction to that situation that actually makes the story come to life for me. On average, I find that I end up writing 4-6 of these 'key interactions' before I sit down to do anything else, and they aren't necessarily full chapters. Sometimes, these are just a few sentences.


What #writingtips or #writingadvice has helped you to make your character development better?

© 2019 CASSANDRA GIOVANNI.