Breakout 1: Kelly Hunter – 10 tips for character development

10 tips for character development

Kelly Hunter is an Australian author who is a USA Today bestselling author, a three-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and loves writing to the short contemporary romance form. She is also Editorial Director at Tule Publishing.

I missed the start of this due to a scheduling conflict, so I’ve done a summary of the content. However the room was packed and the feedback from those who were there for it all was good.

  1. Choose character names carefully 
  2. Build unique character descriptions
  3. Engage emotions
  4. Know your character archetypes
  5. Research character occupations
  6. Create flawed characters
  7. Characters exist off the page
  8. Deepen character conflicts
  9. Focus on what makes your characters extraordinary 
  10. Challenge your characters to change 
    • Character arcs (growth and decline) 
    • Key scenes and other scenes 

Plutchick’s wheel of emotions

Robert Plutchik (21 October 1927 – 29 April 2006) was a professor of psychology who studied emotions (amongst other things). He created a wheel to illustrate opposing emotions, and each emotion is expressed with different intensities. These are all useful options for characters in fiction.

Plutchik's wheel of emotions

Jungian Archetypes wheel 

The archtypes developed by pyschologist Carl Jung are universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct. In Jungian psychology, archetypes are highly developed elements of the collective unconscious. The existence of archetypes can only be deduced indirectly by using story, art, myths, religions, or dreams.

So I don’t break any copyright, I have knocked together my own version of the wheel for your edification. Again, some great ideas for characters.

Jungian archetypes wheel

Reading list: 

Emotions and life:  perspectives from Psychology, biology and evolution, Robert Plutchik 

The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious, Carl Jung 

45 Master Characters – Mythic models for creating original characters, Victoria Lynn Schmidt 

The Complete Writes Guide to Heroes and Heroines, Tami D. Cowden 

The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr and EB White 

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