Create Your Characters:
- Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint: Techniques and exercises for crafting dynamic characters and effective viewpoints by Nancy Kress
- Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
- The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler. Step-by-step instruction in understanding a hero’s journey, structuring plot, and building believable characters
- Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins
- The Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon
Analyze Character Personalities:
- What Would Your Character Do? Personality Quizzes for Analyzing Your Characters by Eric Maisel, Ph.D. and Ann Maisel
- The Big Book of Personality Tests for Women by Robin Westen includes 100 fun-to-take, easy-to-score quizzes that reveal your hidden potential in life, love, and work.
- Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work 10th Anniversary Edition by Otto Kroger and Janet M. Thuesen authors of Type Talk at Work.
- Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself by Florence Littauer contains a Special Feature: Personality Profile Test
- A Woman’s Guide to Personality Types: Enriching Your Family Relationships by Understanding the Four Temperaments by Donna Partow
- The Birth Order Connection: Finding and Keeping the Love of Your Life and The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman
- The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D. includes profiles of human behaviors and personality types
Many authors recommend using an online Myers-Briggs Personality Test to build characters.
Develop Your Character’s Body Language:
- The Power of Body Language; How to Succeed in Every Business and Social Encounter by Tonya Reiman
Choose a Career for Your Characters:
- Careers for your Characters: A Writer’s Guide to 101 Professions from Architect to Zookeeper by Raymond Obstfeld and Franz Neumann
Choose a Character Name with Meaning:
- Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook 2nd Edition by Sherrilyn Kennyon lists 2,5000 first and last names from all over the world
- Name Your Baby: Origins, Meanings, Nicknames, Famous Namesakes by Lareina Rule
- For popular baby names listed by the decade, check out http://www.babycenter.com/babyname
Convey Realistic Emotions in Your Characters:
- Creating Character Emotions: Writing compelling, fresh approaches that express your characters’ true feelings by Ann Hood.
- In Character: Actors Acting directed and photographed by Howard Schatz. Photographic portraits of working actors “making faces” while acting out imaginary scenarios.
- Faces in which LIFE photographers fill the pages with photos brimming with the feelings that transform our faces. With commentary by John Loengard.
Write Great Dialogue:
- Writing Dialogue, How to Create Memorable Voices and Fictional Conversations that Crackle with Wit, Tension and Nuance by Tom Chiarella
A Few Final Character Development Tips:
- Gather your visuals into a reference binder or folder
- Create an index card for each character’s eye color, hair color and distinguishing features.
- Find stock photos on www.gettyimages.com and www.photos.com and in magazines.
- Get house plans from your local builder, magazines, or from Dover Books.
- Sketch your story setting (character’s town including office, home, businesses frequented, etc.) on a map, creating directions and naming streets for key story sites.