Lately I’ve been thinking about changing genres to try writing a novel. One of the things that makes me nervous about such an undertaking is the whole idea of character development. Would I be able to create believable characters that readers would care about and want to know what happens to them?
Good question. One of the reasons I lose interest in characters in novels is that they don’t behave in ways that make any sense. Aristotle said that there are nine motivations for behavior: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion and desire. The authors of some of the novels I’ve read recently would do well to think about this. A character who suddenly breaks a habit without some compelling reason or external event doesn’t ring true: their actions take on a contrived feel.
Rachel Van Dyken’s recent post gives some more great tips.