Character development is a really big deal to me. When I am watching a television series or picking up a graphic novel, I want the characters to progress, grow, change, and evolve! I seek out casts of characters that are diverse and have depth in their narratives. Characters can break the mold, they don't need to be likable or relatable. There are some characters I would want to be best friends with, some that I see as great teachers, and others I admire but would avoid. It's also nearly impossible for anyone to have a "favorite character".
As my colleague Whitney noted in her recent blog entry, November is a special month for character development because there is a month-long celebration of National Novel Writing Month or #NaNoWriMo. The best part is, it's still early in the month-- so set a writing goal, pick up a pen, and tap the keyboard keys to create a cast of characters of your own design. The library is home of some of the most indelible characters of all time. This month, the world's next memorable character could be created by you!
Probably the best way to get into character design is to create an original character for an established universe. Fanfiction of your favorite fandom can be a huge motivator to hit your writing goals. Take Star Wars for example-- you could design your own Jedi and start to ask yourself questions like, "Who were her parents?" or "Does she go to the dark side?" Downton Abbey is another creative world to place your character. You could write about an Edwardian era debutante or a working class gentleman. Write characters that defy your every day surroundings. Create, draw, design, and craft your characters into life. The only limit is your imagination!
Image courtesy of Jonathan Kim.
So the character design bug is biting you now, right? If you are feeling daring, I encourage you to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo is open to anyone, and there's even a way for youth to get involved. The Young Writer's Program is designed to help young people set writing goals, share writing resources, and find ways to craft original stories.