Discuss Scratch

Chromesthesia
Scratcher
100+ posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

Hello! I’m Evi, and today I’m going to be teaching about character development. What is character development? Simply put, character development is how your character changes from the beginning of the story to the end. This can be a physical change, but usually this is a mental, psychological, or emotional change.

For example, (minor spoilers for the Young Elites by Marie Lu!) at the beginning of the series, Adelina starts off as mostly uncertain about herself, her abilities, and what her place is in the world. Her power is creating illusions, but she’s not very good at it yet, and it’s a new discovery that she can do these things.

At the end of the series, Adelina is more like an anti-hero than a protagonist, becoming the villain for the lands around her. She’s powerful, vengeful, and wants her enemies to pay for what they have done to her. I won’t spoil the actual ending, but it’s also a great change in her character. This series stands out to me as having good character development for a few reasons:

  • It’s not forced, unnatural, or out of place: of course, this is a work of fiction, and many probably wouldn’t rally a small army for revenge after their friends betray them, but in this story it’s written as a natural progression for Adelina. It makes sense, while at the same time being a unique plot twist.
  • It’s not linear: Adelina doesn’t simply change in one way, she changes in a lot of ways. She goes from scared child, to confident, to villain, to her final change at the end. She doesn’t just change her morals, she gets more powerful or feels strain on her powers. She makes decisions and adds conflict depending on in what way she’s changing.
  • She’s still the same character- Adelina is still recognizable, and this is especially evident in the end of the last book in the series, when she makes a final decision that shows how she will be remembered as a character. Though she’s hardened, we still know she’s the same character, with the same overall faults and desires. At the beginning of the story we see she always desires revenge, even though she’s less willing to do what it takes to get it. At the end of the story, she still desires revenge, and will do whatever it takes to get this revenge.

So how do you write good development into your character? If you’re like me, you’ll want to plan everything out. In my outline I usually plan out at what points my characters will change, and how they will be at the end.

If you’re not a planner, and you like writing without guidelines or outlines, then just go for it! Don’t let me tell you how to write your story!
Remember that in every story there must be conflict, something everyone wants, and things that get in the way of these wants. Sometimes your character must go through a big change to get what they want, or through that change they will realize what they wanted wasn’t worth it or important after all.

For example, in my current story my main character, Cy, wants to figure out where his new powers came from, hide these powers from his friends, find who’s committing the strange crimes around his city, and get life back to normal. My almost main character Story also wants to solve the crimes, but she wants to solve the crimes to prove herself a good detective, and to impress Cy.

These are the possible ways my characters could change, for better or for worse. You can use these examples and apply them to your own characters, or make up your own!

  • Cy could realize he doesn’t want to hide his powers, and change his motivation.
  • Story could decide she doesn’t need to prove herself, but she’s fine the way she is, changing her motivation.
  • Cy could hide so much that he becomes darker and more reclusive than before, changing his personality and outward appearance.
  • Story could become so desperate for acknowledgement she starts staging fake crimes to solve and look clever, changing her morals from honest to dishonest.
  • Cy could join the people/creatures committing the crimes and decide he’s going to be more successful with them, changing his motivation and morals.
  • Story could decide she doesn’t really like Cy anymore, and just want to be friends, changing her motivation.

Think of a time in your life where you changed a lot, or grew as a person. It’s still you, and you didn’t change as in turn purple or grow an extra head, but you changed.

For example, when I was younger I really thought I was just “better” than everyone else, (laugh please, I was a very rude child at times) and my ideas were superior because they were “mature” and “organized.” Then when I was ten I joined a robotics team full of really smart but immature boys and learned that just because someone’s silly or immature doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas, and from then on I really worked on trying to be less proud and more open to others. Until I made that change in myself, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, which was help the team do their best and win. We actually won first place in our regional competition, but by the time we got to the state competition our robot had been used so much it spun around in circles instead of actually doing anything.
I didn’t change a whole lot, I was still a weird ten-year-old that liked making hexaflexagons and wanted to work with robots. I was still quiet and shy around new people, but after changing I was more open to working with people in a team, rather than going independent. And I'm still friends with those people, more than six years later.

A great way to learn character development is to observe these changes in fiction or in real life. Find a book series you like and try to highlight (not with an actual highlighter, unless you like to write in your books,) how the characters change. Some characters may change, others may not. Does the villain change? Do they stay the same? For example, in Harry Potter, throughout the whole series we see Draco Malfoy as a bad character who sees himself as superior to everyone else. Then in the last two books, (minor spoilers, sorry,) Draco gets more depth and more motivation for acting the way he acts. Does he suddenly become the trio’s friend? No. Does he still act bad? Yes. But he does change, especially at the end. Did Voldemort ever have a change like this, or a lot of depth? Not really. I mean, we got a good backstory for him in Half Blood Prince, but throughout the timeline of the books his motivation and overall personality stays the same: he doesn’t want to die, and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve immortality.
We see Draco doubt himself in Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. He hesitates when he is told to do things that are wrong. He knows they are bad, but he fears for his safety, the safety of his family, and has had little moral guidance. When he was younger, he did bad things because he wanted to, and he liked to feel superior. But now Draco is older, and he does bad things because he fears the wrath of Voldemort if he doesn’t.

I hope this helps you write character development into your stories! Please ask questions, share how your characters are going to change, and don’t be afraid to add something really different into your story! Something I love about writing is that you don’t always have to write in order, and not everything has to make it into the final draft. Write scenes and ideas that may or may not work, and experiment!
Now go forth and write!

Activity: Poppy is an elf that wants to leave the confines of her garden and explore the outside world. Write a short story (use as much creativity as you can!) about Poppy, making sure to include character development. Does Poppy escape? Does she learn there’s a reason why she’s never been out there before? What causes her changes, new friends, family, nature, a villain? Post your stories if you want, I'd love to read them!

Marliqht
Scratcher
100+ posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

second!



Thank You FireFlakes_1 for the Siggy <333
woodenpencils
Scratcher
100+ posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

nice

i come back months later and i don't see the “be moist ” trend around anymore this is so sad kiibo play despaircito
-ChocoLoco-
Scratcher
100+ posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

omg this is so helpful thank you thank you.

i really should have blinked more while reading it, but i was staring at it and trying to take it all in that now my eyes are tearing up BLINK BAKIE BLINK

….when you joined a robotics team when you were ten?? is that fourth/fith grade? that's awesome! and my goodness <333 evi you're such a humble person now!

I really want to read Young Elites by Marie Lu now, let's go put that on hold. And I'll try to do that activity!

let's change this cuz pfffffffffffft dont know what to put here but oh well
forinahlovesanimals
Scratcher
49 posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

Chromesthesia wrote:

Hello! I’m Evi, and today I’m going to be teaching about character development. What is character development? Simply put, character development is how your character changes from the beginning of the story to the end. This can be a physical change, but usually this is a mental, psychological, or emotional change.

For example, (minor spoilers for the Young Elites by Marie Lu!) at the beginning of the series, Adelina starts off as mostly uncertain about herself, her abilities, and what her place is in the world. Her power is creating illusions, but she’s not very good at it yet, and it’s a new discovery that she can do these things.

At the end of the series, Adelina is more like an anti-hero than a protagonist, becoming the villain for the lands around her. She’s powerful, vengeful, and wants her enemies to pay for what they have done to her. I won’t spoil the actual ending, but it’s also a great change in her character. This series stands out to me as having good character development for a few reasons:

  • It’s not forced, unnatural, or out of place: of course, this is a work of fiction, and many probably wouldn’t rally a small army for revenge after their friends betray them, but in this story it’s written as a natural progression for Adelina. It makes sense, while at the same time being a unique plot twist.
  • It’s not linear: Adelina doesn’t simply change in one way, she changes in a lot of ways. She goes from scared child, to confident, to villain, to her final change at the end. She doesn’t just change her morals, she gets more powerful or feels strain on her powers. She makes decisions and adds conflict depending on in what way she’s changing.
  • She’s still the same character- Adelina is still recognizable, and this is especially evident in the end of the last book in the series, when she makes a final decision that shows how she will be remembered as a character. Though she’s hardened, we still know she’s the same character, with the same overall faults and desires. At the beginning of the story we see she always desires revenge, even though she’s less willing to do what it takes to get it. At the end of the story, she still desires revenge, and will do whatever it takes to get this revenge.

So how do you write good development into your character? If you’re like me, you’ll want to plan everything out. In my outline I usually plan out at what points my characters will change, and how they will be at the end.

If you’re not a planner, and you like writing without guidelines or outlines, then just go for it! Don’t let me tell you how to write your story!
Remember that in every story there must be conflict, something everyone wants, and things that get in the way of these wants. Sometimes your character must go through a big change to get what they want, or through that change they will realize what they wanted wasn’t worth it or important after all.

For example, in my current story my main character, Cy, wants to figure out where his new powers came from, hide these powers from his friends, find who’s committing the strange crimes around his city, and get life back to normal. My almost main character Story also wants to solve the crimes, but she wants to solve the crimes to prove herself a good detective, and to impress Cy.

These are the possible ways my characters could change, for better or for worse. You can use these examples and apply them to your own characters, or make up your own!

  • Cy could realize he doesn’t want to hide his powers, and change his motivation.
  • Story could decide she doesn’t need to prove herself, but she’s fine the way she is, changing her motivation.
  • Cy could hide so much that he becomes darker and more reclusive than before, changing his personality and outward appearance.
  • Story could become so desperate for acknowledgement she starts staging fake crimes to solve and look clever, changing her morals from honest to dishonest.
  • Cy could join the people/creatures committing the crimes and decide he’s going to be more successful with them, changing his motivation and morals.
  • Story could decide she doesn’t really like Cy anymore, and just want to be friends, changing her motivation.

Think of a time in your life where you changed a lot, or grew as a person. It’s still you, and you didn’t change as in turn purple or grow an extra head, but you changed.

For example, when I was younger I really thought I was just “better” than everyone else, (laugh please, I was a very rude child at times) and my ideas were superior because they were “mature” and “organized.” Then when I was ten I joined a robotics team full of really smart but immature boys and learned that just because someone’s silly or immature doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas, and from then on I really worked on trying to be less proud and more open to others. Until I made that change in myself, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, which was help the team do their best and win. We actually won first place in our regional competition, but by the time we got to the state competition our robot had been used so much it spun around in circles instead of actually doing anything.
I didn’t change a whole lot, I was still a weird ten-year-old that liked making hexaflexagons and wanted to work with robots. I was still quiet and shy around new people, but after changing I was more open to working with people in a team, rather than going independent. And I'm still friends with those people, more than six years later.

A great way to learn character development is to observe these changes in fiction or in real life. Find a book series you like and try to highlight (not with an actual highlighter, unless you like to write in your books,) how the characters change. Some characters may change, others may not. Does the villain change? Do they stay the same? For example, in Harry Potter, throughout the whole series we see Draco Malfoy as a bad character who sees himself as superior to everyone else. Then in the last two books, (minor spoilers, sorry,) Draco gets more depth and more motivation for acting the way he acts. Does he suddenly become the trio’s friend? No. Does he still act bad? Yes. But he does change, especially at the end. Did Voldemort ever have a change like this, or a lot of depth? Not really. I mean, we got a good backstory for him in Half Blood Prince, but throughout the timeline of the books his motivation and overall personality stays the same: he doesn’t want to die, and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve immortality.
We see Draco doubt himself in Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. He hesitates when he is told to do things that are wrong. He knows they are bad, but he fears for his safety, the safety of his family, and has had little moral guidance. When he was younger, he did bad things because he wanted to, and he liked to feel superior. But now Draco is older, and he does bad things because he fears the wrath of Voldemort if he doesn’t.

I hope this helps you write character development into your stories! Please ask questions, share how your characters are going to change, and don’t be afraid to add something really different into your story! Something I love about writing is that you don’t always have to write in order, and not everything has to make it into the final draft. Write scenes and ideas that may or may not work, and experiment!
Now go forth and write!

Activity: Poppy is an elf that wants to leave the confines of her garden and explore the outside world. Write a short story (use as much creativity as you can!) about Poppy, making sure to include character development. Does Poppy escape? Does she learn there’s a reason why she’s never been out there before? What causes her changes, new friends, family, nature, a villain? Post your stories if you want, I'd love to read them!


Wowwwww! This is rly helpful! I always did character development with all my characters, but I never reaaaally thought about how they cud change!
also ur story sounds rly interesting! I'm totally going to do the activity about poppy the elf, how did you think of it?
Forinahxx

——-FORINAHLOVESANIMALS——-
forinahlovesanimals
Scratcher
49 posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

Chromesthesia wrote:

For example, when I was younger I really thought I was just “better” than everyone else, (laugh please, I was a very rude child at times) and my ideas were superior because they were “mature” and “organized.” Then when I was ten I joined a robotics team full of really smart but immature boys and learned that just because someone’s silly or immature doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas, and from then on I really worked on trying to be less proud and more open to others. Until I made that change in myself, I couldn’t do what I wanted to do, which was help the team do their best and win. We actually won first place in our regional competition, but by the time we got to the state competition our robot had been used so much it spun around in circles instead of actually doing anything.
I didn’t change a whole lot, I was still a weird ten-year-old that liked making hexaflexagons and wanted to work with robots. I was still quiet and shy around new people, but after changing I was more open to working with people in a team, rather than going independent. And I'm still friends with those people, more than six years later.


(sry i duunno how to make my comment not inside this quote)


OMG I WAS EXACTLY THE SAME! I recently found out from my cousin that when we were both a lot younger she thought I was not very smart and she was waaay better, BUT I ALWAYS THOUGHT SHE WAS NOT VERY SMART AND I WAS WAAAAAAY BETTER WHEN I WAS YOUNGER! Actaully, whe I was a lot younger, I always thought I was waaaaaaay better then anyone and was so mature I was practically an adult (NOT)




Last edited by forinahlovesanimals (Nov. 11, 2020 05:21:05)


——-FORINAHLOVESANIMALS——-
Mockingjade
Scratcher
100+ posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

omg evi this is awesome thank you thank you thank you
my brain is literally bursting with ideas rn because of this thank you thank you so so much
MillkyBlueSky
Scratcher
39 posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

tysm! D

heya! i'm millky, a girl who loves reading, writing, and art!

go read Embers In The Snow by @SaiIAway!

#aerity and #faarity- i ship both xD
CloveAndCato
Scratcher
33 posts

Character Development - SWC Workshop

Thanks! Character Development is probably my weakest spot in writing, but this helps a ton!

Hi. I'm fake tasking.

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