Monday, August 3, 2015

Tools for Developing Character!

There is SO much to know about creating a believable and compelling protagonist out there. Loads. So today, I'm going to try to brag about a few helpful tools and tips about character development that I've used now and in the past.

Some of the things I’m learning:

I’ve been studying different temperment types by using Keirsey’s Temperments. He lists four basic temperments and each have four subcategories. His lists are helpful in giving some detailed information and examples about each temperment.

Along with this, I’ve looked at Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. Again, there are four basic personality types listed here, with a detailed description of each and then the four types are blended into various other combinations to reveal other personalities. It’s a pretty simple and enjoyable read and gives some basics.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell’s website is very helpful and has FREE printouts :-) She employs many tips I’ve learned from other writings. Such as, interviewing your character – and she even gives a list of 20 questions to ask him/her; A History/Characteristics Sheet – or detailed description about your character (looks, past, interests, hobbies..etc).

Laurie discusses Enneagrams (Any-uh-grams) or the nine personality types, and what’s most interesting about these descriptions is that they express the ‘flaws’ within the personality. Laurie’s site is

As I’m completing the Workbook, Donald Maas is pushing me to create a three-dimensional character. One who will leave the reader thinking about them long after the last page. Knowing your character is the key, and studying personality types to develop a detailed protagonist is helpful in developing a deeper knowledge about your characters.

So…when I write a dialogue between two characters, they don’t sound like the same person.
When my protagonist does something unusual, it still fits within her realm of possibility and doesn’t make the reader want to toss down the book with, “No way, she would NEVER do that.”
When my readers are sorry to finish the book or feel like they’ve completed a wonderful journey with a friend (my protagonist), then I’ve developed a character with meaning….

And it’s tough work, or at least I think it is, but it’s SO worth it. When I read now what I wrote back then, I’m thankful my stick-figure protagonists are starting to grow some skin. Hope these tips will help you build more believable, three-dimensional characters.

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction whenever she can and loves annoying her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015. Her first contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, released in December. You can connect with Pepper on her website at, Facebook- or Twitter at


Angie Dicken said...

Great post, Pepper! Lots to think about. You write great characters, btw.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Great post, Pepper! My hero seems to need more depth, from what I'm getting back in contests. So, I'm going to take advantage of this post to do some work on him. :) Thanks for the links!

Come Go Home With Me said...

Thank you for this great post, Pepper! I am developing a new character ...the links will be a great help.