The most interesting characters are those that change throughout the story. Examining what events will affect the characters perception and personality will not only help you understand the character better, it will start the process of developing the plot of the novel. I think that both the protagonist and the antagonist should be dynamic characters. If the novel is a romance, the love interest should also change as the story progresses.
Here are some questions that will help you determine how your major characters change throughout the novel.
What is the character’s self-image at the beginning? Is she an introvert or an extrovert? Is she an optimist or a pessimist?
At the beginning of the story, what makes the character happy or sad? What does the character want most? If she could change one thing about her life, what would it be?
How do others perceive the character at the start of the story?
Now, envision the character changing events that will become part of the plot. What obstacles are overcome? What decisions does the character make? What are the character’s significant successes or failures?
As a result of these events, what personality traits change throughout the story and are those changes desired or undesired? Do they make the character a better person or a worse person?
After brainstorming the major events in the plot that change the character, you should revisit the questions on self-image, things that make the character happy or sad, and what the character wants most at the end of the story.
Finally, how do others perceive the character at the end of the story? Who is affected by the changes in the character and how are they affected.
The main character in my self-published trilogy, The Queen of the Night Series, starting with SEEING MAGIC, is Maggie Stewart. At the beginning of the trilogy she is a self-absorbed, materialistic, shallow teenage girl from California. Her biggest worry is whether to hang out at the beach or the mall with her girlfriends. After her mother’s battle with cancer, and her own battle against the goddess of the Moon, she transforms into an environmental activist and community leader. Find out more about Maggie and her transformation at http://www.amazon.com/author/lauraewrites/.
Maggie is definitely a heroine and my next post will examine two studies of the Hero’s Journey. One examines the concept from the perspective of the great Greek heroes in classical literature. The other started as a primer for scriptwriters of Disney fairytale movies for kids. Until then, keep developing those characters. By the time Nanowrimo starts in November, they will be good friends and the words will flow from your fingertips.