If So, Why? The Ultimate Character Development Guide

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #003.

If you’ve read either of the first two issues of this magazine, you may have noticed the section with the title: “Developing Your Character.” (If you haven’t, then welcome! I’m glad you’re here.) Each week, I include a question or three which I pull out of a list of 850+ character development questions.

Originally, I intended to simply post a couple questions every week, and maybe in a year or two, I would make the entire guide available for purchase. However, I finally came to the decision that I would rather share this guide with the writing community in its entirety than piecemeal it over weeks and months and years.

With that goal in mind, I created a new Kickstarter campaign. The way it works is that you, the backers, choose a level that you feel comfortable with, and pledge to spend that much money on this guide.

If the guide is fully funded within the 30 days that I set for the campaign, then your money will be used to put the finishing touches on it and get it out to you on the double.

If it is not fully funded at the end of 30 days, then it will be a failed campaign, and you will not have spent a penny.

Not A Pay Wall

Now, this doesn’t mean that I am putting my content behind a pay wall. I want my contributions to the writing community to be accessible for all aspiring authors, no matter how much they are capable of spending. The “Developing Your Character” section will continue to be made available week by week in this magazine for free.

However, if you have the money, just think how good that hardcover guide would look on your coffee table. If you need some inspiration, cross your legs, put the book in your lap, and flip through it, page by page, question by question, and see what you discover about your character.

What’s The Money For?

Ok, so there are essentially three things that this Kickstarter campaign is intended to be used to fund.

• I need a professionally made cover.
• I need a professional edit.
• I need an ISBN number.

Those are three things that time and motivation alone won’t manage to provide me with. They are not, strictly speaking, necessary, but if I want my guide to be of the highest quality possible, and I do, then I will need to be able to pay for these common services.

Don’t Answer Them All

While my goal is to make this the most thorough character development guide in existence, I can no doubt imagine many making the argument that such a guide would be largely pointless. There’s no way you could answer 850+ questions about each of your primary characters.

However, that’s not exactly the point of this guide. The point is to help you to get the creative juices flowing as you contemplate what unique characteristics your character could have.

What if you need to have some camaraderie among friends, and you just so happen to see the questions found in this week’s issue of The Writer’s Everything. Does he have any nicknames? How does he feel about them?

Now you’re thinking about your character’s backstory. Does he have a nickname? Did his friends give it to him because of his pure awesomeness, or was it a tongue-in-cheek insult? Does he embrace his nickname, or does he do everything within his power to distance himself from it?

From just a couple simple questions, you can discover aspects of your character that you never even knew existed.

The Rewards

There are basically four different items available for those who support my project on Kickstarter.

One is a digital copy of the guide. Everyone gets that, as long as you spend at least one dollar.

Then there are paperback and hardcover copies of the guide. Those are perfect for sitting back on the couch and conducting some research or looking for some inspiration.

And finally, there’s the If So, Why? workbook. This is a paperback book containing pages for numerous characters, each one with slots for you to write your answers to as many of the questions as you feel is necessary.

If you would like to support this Kickstarter campaign, simply click the link below. If you would rather not, then there’s no need to worry. Just make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter to receive more free content in the future.

The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.

If you’d like to receive every issue of The Writer’s Everything for free upon release, please sign up for my weekly newsletter.

If you would like to support me so that I can continue making this content without issue, please check out my Patreon, where you can help me out for as little as a quarter of the price of one Starbucks drink.