Character Development In A Standalone Book

When you’re writing a standalone book (1 book only) and you have to develop a character, you don’t have long to get the reader hooked in and into this character. Whether he/she is a protagonist or an antagonist, it’s surely necessary to establish this early and quickly. 


Writing, 'The World In Ruins' for example, I had to establish Derek as the main character, that he’s a young kid who’s worried about the world and that he’s a protagonist. The goal was to make sure the reader knows Derek is trying to change what happens in the world before it becomes catastrophic based off of the dream he had. Once I was able to do that, the book was able to flow and his lucid dream shines more. 


That’s just an example of character development but there’s plenty more to it. You have to establish the current story, a backstory and where the story is heading. Vagueness will not keep a reader engaged so be as descriptive as possible. I try to provide that as much as I can with my writing even though my books are in a prose format. 


No matter what happens in my books, my goal is to establish characters, who they are, what they’re about and bring out the story through their eyes and from their perspective. Standalone books will always be challenging and I’ll provide you another example of this. 


The book, 'I Woke Up A Black Man,' establishes Eric as an antagonist and he’s someone who is naive to what’s going on around him because he’s a white man. When he wakes up a black man, he realizes a lot of things his black friend Warren told him is what black men deal with and go through daily. I wanted people to not like Eric in some ways but by the end of the book he becomes more of a protagonist and wanting to change the landscape of how black men are treated in today’s world. 


There’s always challenges with writing content and sometimes when I’m writing books, I can establish a character as one thing and by the end, he/she is a totally different person based on their experiences they’ve dealt with. I’m not always in for writing good-hearted characters because that’s not reality and that’s not life. 


Always remember, with standalone books you have to establish things faster and not drag the story too much. With a book series, you can develop characters over time. It’s the balance of writing different content and finding your purpose and reason for writing the content that you do. 


That’s my blog for today, be good everyone and go accomplish your goals!


Jamell Crouthers


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