A WORKBOOK BY DAN WILLIS
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WORKBOOK
Learn how to build great characters, add depth to their lives, and bring them to life with Dan’s Comprehensive, in-depth worksheet.
Create more nuanced characters.
Vibrant characters are more than the sum of their details. They need
hopes, dreams, fears, quirks, and problems that have nothing to do
with their role in your story.
All that might sound intimidating, but it’s easier than you think. This
workbook has two parts designed to walk you through creating and
adding depth to your characters.
Develop rich, character driven storylines.
How your character reacts to the story’s central problem and the
choices they make will depend on how those decisions fit with their
want. It will color their choices and define what risks they are willing
When you build your story, remember that your main character’s want
is what is driving the plot forward. It should be present in every
scene, back behind the curtain, motivating them to go on. The same
goes for your Villain. What they want will define their villainy. This
also applies to the love interest, if your story has one. All your story’s
major characters need to have a want.
Connect your reader to your main character so they’re compelled to follow the tale.
Exploring Your Character's Flaws
Every character needs a flaw, a critical weakness that has the ability to
doom them. If the main storyline is what opposes your character’s
external want, their flaw is what opposes their internal want.
Finding Your Character’s Want
It’s a complex idea and it’s not easy to master. The good news is that while
it will take a good amount of effort on your part, it’s not as hard as
you might think.
Bringing Together Character Development
Your story is going to have two major arcs; the plot arc, the big events
that your story is about, and a character arc for your main character.
This is the story of their personal development, of how the events of
the story change them.
Learn how the main character’s internal and external wants should influence your story.
Understand the power of your character’s wants, sit
down with each of your main characters and figure them out. Don’t
skimp. Don’t settle for the easy or obvious answers, drill down deep.
Give them a want that will keep them going when they’re beaten and
bloody and everyone is telling them to quit.
IMPROVE YOUR STORYTELLING
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