Character development is a key to any great story – whether it’s long form, short form, fiction, fantasy, the list goes on and on. Having compelling characters is one of the main draws for readers, it’s what gets them hooked in the first place. While having an interesting plot and exciting inciting incident are also very important, your readers will tend to lose interest if they can’t relate to the characters.
One of the first things that come to mind when developing a character is, of course, their physical attributes. It can be clunky to just drop a bunch of information about a character into a random page in the story… So how can you describe a character well? Keep reading to find out!
For this important lesson, we turn to none other than J.K. Rowling. Her beloved Harry Potter series has taken the world by storm, and their popularity continues to this day. There are so many lessons to learn from her writing, but the one we want to focus on today is how she describes her characters.
The method J.K. Rowling uses is to write out the scene first. She then peppers in sentences here and there about the physical attributes of the character, but they always contribute to building the scene. For example, our first introduction to Harry describes him as skinny and small for his age, but it contrasts this with Dudley and how huge he is. This, coupled with the fact that Harry only ever wears Dudley’s enormous hand-me-downs gives us a sense of the size of each of these characters, as well as contributing to the overall scene where Dudley is spoiled and Harry is picked on and often forgotten. Watch the video below for more tips and tricks on character development!