Developing Your Character

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #012.

Has he ever been expelled? If so, why?

If a student causes trouble to the point where detentions and suspensions are no longer sufficient punishments, the next step that the school may choose to take is to expel the student. Even for non-troublemakers, expulsion may be an indicator that a character has difficulty fitting in with fellow students or conforming to the school and its rules. In Spider-Man, Harry Osborn was said to have been kicked out of every private school his father sent him to due to his grades not meeting the minimum standards that they required.

What does he do for work?

The possibilities for a character’s employment in the real world are nearly limitless. When you include the potential careers that fantasy worlds, science-fiction worlds, and historical worlds offer, you’ll find no end to your character’s prospective lines of work. There are many factors that go into a character’s choice of employment. This includes whatever natural predilections he has, his interests, and his social standing. Some characters may be working in their ideal jobs, while other characters have to settle for work that they hate because there are no other options available to them. In The OA, Doctor Hunter “Hap” Percy works as a scientist. Then, after he is transferred to another dimension, he finds himself working as a psychiatrist. In Venom, Eddie Brock is an investigative journalist who often discovers and exposes conspiracies within large corporations.

Where does he work?

While the chosen vocation of a character can indicate much about both their social standing and their talents and drives, the location of a character’s source of employment can indicate even more about them. In Spider-Man, Peter Parker wants to be a photographer, and so he chooses to work for the Daily Bugle, selling them the photos he takes of Spider-Man. In Stranger Things, Jim Hopper is the chief of police in the small rural town of Hawkins, Indiana. It is because he works there that he ends up being involved in all the strange things that end up going on in that town.

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.

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