At the end of his chapter on character development, in Writing Screenplays that Sell, Michael Hauge offers the following useful advice:
In order to have effective character development, identification and sympathy, place your protagonist in jeopardy.
For example, in my bestselling novel, Scarab, the protagonist, Jack Wheeler, is under constant threat of being murdered by the man in the black suit. This sustains the suspense, keeping the reader turning the pages to find out if Jack lives or dies.
Additionally, make your protagonist likable. Introduce him to your audience early. Make him powerful, witty, or good at his job. Position him in a familiar setting. Grant him familiar flaws and foibles.
Ensure originality in your character development by researching specific historical figures whose lives are authentic, unique, and interesting.
Go against cliche by altering the physical makeup, background and personality to make your character less predictable. Pair one character up with an opposite or contrasting character and cast him, in your imagination, by assigning his role to an actor that is best suited to the part.
Character Development Essentials
Remember that there are two levels of character motivation: outer motivation, which is the goal the protagonist strives to achieve by the end of the story, and inner motivation, which is the reason he strives for the goal in the first place—the why to the what and the how.
Conflict also spurs a character to develop. There are two sources of conflict: outer conflict, which is the conflict between other characters and nature, and inner conflict: the conflict between warring aspects within the character herself.
Finally, there are four main categories of primary characters: hero or protagonist, whose motivation drives the plot, the nemesis or antagonist who tries to prevent the hero from achieving the goal, the reflection or guardian who most supports the protagonist, and the romance character, who, according to Hauge, alternatively supports and quarrels with the hero.
Create secondary characters as needed, in order to provide additional plot complications. Add obstacles, bring relief, humour, depth and texture to your story.
This post offers concrete suggestions for successful character development in your stories.