I just had to redo my villains in my story. They were simply too…flat. There was nothing to them. No back story, no depth and worse, no reason for doing what they were doing.
Since I was redoing them, I thought, heck and I started to redo two other villains as well. To do it, I sat and thought: Okay, so this guy is a jerk. He hurts women. Why does he do it? How does he justify it? And how is he hurting in his life (so that he’s not a simply evil man without any redeeming qualities)?
I basically wrote a backstory to them. One was abused as a child, one had tried to avoid the pain he felt living with his alcoholic family of origin by choosing a doing a job he hated and now, with four kids, he was trapped in doing something he disliked every day.
These weren’t main characters in my story. They were in only two or three scenes in the entire thing. Still, once I know them well, I can write them in so much better. Their dialogue comes alive and they develop quirks and mannerisms that suit their personality.
They come alive in the story because they’re alive for me.
But let’s face it, I’m no Nora Roberts. What do I know?
Well, these people know. Check out this little group of links on how to write great characters. Hopefully, one will suit your style!
Elizabeth S. Craig has this great post on Help with Character Development. In it she has a ton of other links to help out with everything from worksheets to examples. An excellent post and one with many possibilities.
And this one is for supporting characters! Let’s not forget those. A great post by Nancy Parker.