Writing a believable character is a key component of a good story. One of my favourite characters to write is Raven. He represents the best of modern masculinity - where kindness, warmth and sensitivity are strengths and that he is not afraid of showing how he feels. But, what made me decide to write him like that and how did I develop his character?
Whilst the bad-guy is exciting to read and write, it was too cliche for my protagonist to fall in love with the stereotypical bad-boy. It's boring, done too many times and doesn't help YA's recognise what a healthy relationship should be like.
With this in mind, the personality was forming - he needed to be kind but powerful. Could these two go together?
I researched (a lot) about different war veteran's and how they manage to be both fierce warriors and gentle. The psychology of it is quite interesting. Soldiers are expected to be able to control their emotions, to get the job done aggressively, but show compassion. Whilst in basic training, these core values are some of the personality traits that it instils in the recruits - however, they are also observed closely and these are innate within the soldier core attributes. A good soldier has these and it is this I wanted to replicate within Raven. He is strong and dependable and is an important character for Rey to interact with. She is impetuous, naive and ignorant and her young attitude shows in her decisions and behaviour.
The stages I went through to develop Raven's character are:
What type of hero is he? Antihero, accidental or born hero?
What are his flaws?
What is he good at?
How can he be killed?
What is his weakness?
What is his strength?
What is his favourite thing?
What does he dislike?
Why does he have an ability? What should it be? How would that impact the narrative?
What should I call him? - This one I chose last because his ability interested me the most.
How important is he to the overall story arc and character arc of Rey?
Once I have formed my answers to this list, my next stage was weaving these into the novel. Some of these are introduced in Book 1 - however, as we see his character develop, we'll see his personality develop.
The process for Raven is similar to that of all the lead characters - but, and this is key - your antagonist must be stronger and harder to break than your protagonist.
So, despite all of the great and positive attributes both Rey and Raven have, neither can match the cunning and evil that Octavious and Karver bring to the table.
How I developed these two was with my protagonists in mind.
Now that you have the basic character sheet, you can use it to replicate your own stories.
I would love to hear from you and how you develop your characters - and is there anything that you would add to this list?
Remember, stay safe,