Character Development

Thank you, kind people at Writing Bad, for the opportunity to write for your wonderful website. I only hope my nonsensical ramblings don’t persuade your followers to flee. If you’ve never checked our Writing Bad, forget about the next few hours. It’s full of tools helpful to writers. You won’t be able to hit that bookmark button quick enough.

This article is all about character development. In it, I look at three tools I’ve found tremendously helpful when it comes to developing characters—sliding scales, the superman vs the everyman, and the secret snapshot approach.

Enjoy, or don’t.

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Tools for Developing Characters

Many tools exist to help you craft believable and engaging characters. Below you’ll find some of the best I’ve encountered and a very helpful technique called the secret snapshot approach which can help you discover and reveal your character’s inner most self in a way which readers will love.

Sliding scales

Bestselling fantasy author Brandon Sanderson promotes a helpful and somewhat fun tool for developing characters—sliding scales.

He posits that each character has three core features which we can measure on sliding scales: competence, likeability, and proactivity. Each scale links with the others. Let’s take a look at a few examples:


Villains tend to be competent and proactive but fall low on the likeability scale. Darth Vader for instance, is hell-bent on destroying the rebels and he’s not too shabby at it.


Everyone loves a trier, but despite their efforts they never succeed ,or end up…

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