November is National Novel Writing Month and in honor or preparation for many of you writing a 50,000 words novel in one month, I’m taking part in #ProjectWriteTube which a collaboration of YouTubers who are talking about the preparation of NaNoWriMo in the month of October. My video/blog post is just one of many created by other authors, so to watch all the YouTube videos, be sure to check out the #ProjectWriteTube playlist on YouTube:

Authors taking part in #ProjectWriteTube are also donating copies of their novels in one massive giveaway! There are 7 signed copies of books up for grabs, including a signed copy of Essence! You have until November 1st to enter the giveaway!

Be sure to also check out my Instagram (mandilynnwrites) for my NaNoWriMo takeover! I’ll be posting every day to keep you motivated, on track and giving tips to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month! 

For my #ProjectWriteTube video I wanted to talk about character development. When you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo, you’re going to want to have everything planned out in advance, that way you can just write your story during the month of November. This goes for your characters as well. You’ll panic mid-November if you realize who have characters that you have no idea who they are.

The easiest way to discover who your characters are is by starting to ask questions. I’ve done this in a previous blog post, Character Profiling Prompts to Aid in Your Novel’s Plot, which I encourage you to check out, but today I’ve created a few more things to keep in mind when you’re planning out your characters.

As always, I like to think the character creates the plot. You shouldn’t think about your characters and your plot as two different things. Rather, think of them as elements that depend on each other. The plot is dependent on how the character reacts.

How to Develop Your Novel Characters:

  • Give the little details
    • Readers love the little details about characters. What about them is different from everyone else? What odd habits do they have? Point out the little things about your character, like how every night they look for the moon before they shut the shades.
  • Backstory 
    • Develop and write down your character’s backstory before you start writing your novel. Figure out their history and why they are who they are. you want to physically write it out before-hand so you can slowly work in their backstory as you write your novel. Whatever you do, do not info dump. Readers will enjoy your story much more if they have to work for the backstory.
  • Think about body language
    • The body language of your character can tell a lot about personality. Do they stand straight, with confidence? Or do they slink back, fade to the background? How do they hold themselves when they meet a stranger?
  • Don’t be too over-the-top
    • It’s fun to write an over-the-top character, but of course, it can be too much sometimes.
  • Don’t be the damsel in distress or cliche
    • If you’ve ever disliked a book, it’s usually because something about it, the plot or character was cliche. You’ve read it before. It’s boring. Don’t have a boring character that we’ve all seen before. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to push boundaries.
  • Defect in character
    • Speaking of cliche, we hate perfect characters. No one is perfect and if you have a perfect character than your readers won’t be able to relate to them. Give them humble, realistic flaws. Make them selfish, make them mean, bring out the worst in them (without going over-the-top).
  • Situations to create dimension
    • You’ll want your character to develop with the story. Who they are at the beginning may not be the same as who they are at the end. This is what I mean when I say your character is part of your plot. What scenes or situations is your character going to face and how will they change to reach their goals?

Things to Think About Later:

  • Names and physical Features
    • This is optional, but you may find it easier to figure what your character looks like after you’ve already discovered what the quirks in their personality are. It may seem like common sense that the first thing you have to do is figure out what your main character looks like, but your life may be much easier if you do this last. But at the same time, if you know off the bat what your character’s name is and what they look like, don’t push that away. Embrace it and develop your character from there.

Are you excited to take part in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below!