Trouble Developing Your Character? Use this Trick!

grayscale photography of person at the end of tunnel
Photo by Anthony DeRosa on

Whether you are starting a new novel, or you are struggling with figuring out your character’s motives—there is a trick to help you develop your character.

The trick is: side writing.

The process of side writing might feel a little silly at first, but it’s a great creative exercise that I think would benefit any writer.

Interested? Here are some examples:

Example 1

One of the most popular example of side writing is: writing letters—from your protagonist’s point of view. The letters can be about anything. For me, I write about my character’s thoughts and fears about what is to come.

I have found writing letters to be very beneficial when you are starting your novel. You can address the letter to one of your parents, a friend, or one of your favorite characters from a similar book. No matter who you choose to write to, you’ll find your protagonist’s voice clearer and their personality more concrete after you write the letter. With these clearer in your mind, you might find those first twenty pages easier to write. Who doesn’t love that benefit?

Example 2

Another example of side writing is writing journal entries as your protagonist. This can be helpful if you write the entries as your character moves through the novel. As your character grows, so will their view and ideas in the entries. Also, who knows? Those entries might end up creating another motive, or a new character arc.

Those are two options to choose from, but there is also a question about how you are going to do your side writing. Will you write the letters freehand? What about typing?

Either way, you’ll be glad you tried it.

Keep on writing!

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