Character Development Lesson Plans

Character Development:

Lesson 1:
To understand how conflict shapes a character and how as an individual you might dictate how you would react in certain situations, you are to create a character. Include all of the details listed below to help you create a ‘character’. To do so well, you should feel by the end of this process that you could actually sit down next to this individual (that you’ve created) and have a conversation with them. That you know them so well, you could engage in deep conversations. By working on this activity, you will learn how this person chooses to resolve conflict, approach it, or even try to keep conflict at bay. Make this character real to everyone else.

Write no less than three pages about a character that you’ve created for this lesson.

This is a topic that we discuss in screenwriting. Listed below is a questionnaire that you can use to build your character. You’ll be using this character in future lessons.

Note: Some of these questions have been taken from The Book of Questions for the purposes of developing characters.

Attributes:
Name, Nickname
Appearance: gender, age, height, weight, hair color, style, makeup, clothing
Race:
Physical abilities or limitations

Background Information:
Socioeconomic Class
Religion
Place of birth
Place and time of story
Parent’s Conflicts: race, socioeconomic level, religion, habits, quality of relationship with children
Brothers/Sisters/Significant Other/Relatives (profile each): race, socioeconomic level, religion, habits, quality of relationship w
Family Structure/Life:

Life story
How did your character get here from his/her past?
What was growing up like for them?
Did they have a good or bad childhood?
What struggles or hardships have they endured?
Has their life worked out like they expected?
Has their life been difficult or easy until now?
Were they forced into their current path, or are they here by choice?
Do they have regrets?
What special circumstances have made them into who they are today?
Did anything happen in their past that they cannot forget or live down?
Has a past event deeply changed or scarred them in some way?

Psychology
Outer Goal:
Inner Goal:
Life, Career, or Personal Goals Outside the Story:
Defining Characteristic:
Hopes/Desires:
Fears/Phobias:
Dirty Secrets:
Introvert or Extrovert:
Thinking or Feeling:
The biggest contradiction(s) your character lives out:
Self-Centered or Selfless:
Favorite/Hated Foods & Drinks:
Education/Important Learning Experiences:
Most Hated Activities:
Most Enjoyed Activities:
Deepest Secret or Wildest Fantasy:
Sense of Humor or Lack of:
Things that make the character laugh:
Heroes:

Philosophy & Morality
Attitudes Toward:
Self:
Others:
Friendship:
Love:
Family:
Marriage:
Country:
The World:
Religion:
Political Philosophy:
Conservative/Liberal/Radical:
Public Causes Supported/Protested:
Politically Active/Apathetic:
Superstitions:
Catchphrase that Defines their Worldview:

Life & Lifestyle

Closest Friend(s):
Career and Occupation:
Attitude Towards Job:
Noted Accomplishments:
Famous/Infamous:
Clubs/Organizations:
Favorite Music or Group
Favorite TV Shows or Films:
Hobbies:

Food for Thought

How would Your Character React to:
Inheriting $1 Million:
The Death of a Loved One:
A Natural Disaster:
Being Fired:
Meeting an Old Friend or Enemy Not Seen in Years:
Having or Raising Children:
Being Violated in Some Way:
An Unexpected Kindness or Compliment:
A Serious Illness:
A Flat Tire:
An Interracial Relationship:
Five Minutes of Fame:

Lesson 2:
Take a book that you’ve recently read or that you are familiar with and answer the following questions:
Is there one character that is similar to you?
Have you ever had a similar experience as someone in the book?
Compare this character/story/event to another book.
How would you resolve the conflict in the book?
What would you do differently than the main character?
What feelings did you express while reading this book?

Keep in mind as you answer the questions how conflict helps shape a person. Do you feel positively or negatively about the characters in the book? What made you feel this way? I want you to express your feelings about the book. What motivated you to read this particular novel?

Lesson 3:
Recall an old argument you had with another person. Write about the argument from the point of view of the other person. Remember that the idea is to see the argument from their perspective, not your own. This is an exercise in voice, not in proving yourself right or wrong.

The first paragraph should state what the argument was about.

The second paragraph should give me the reasons behind your beliefs.

The rest of the assignments should be in the perspective opposite of you.

How did you leave this argument? Do you feel that either of you could have compromised your beliefs?

This assignment should be no less than one page.

Lesson 4:

This can be done as frequently as a schedule permits. Students can take the character they’ve developed and start using their character to write a story. One page per lesson is adequate to help writers understand what changes their character will go through, as well as enhance plots, conflict, and resolution.

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