What Is an over-developed Character?

Characters are often under-developed in beginning fiction writing. An unknown villain is a common example. That is a villain whose characterisation is not strong or compelling enough to convince us that he or she can pose some seriously menacing adversity to the protagonist.

However, we can also encounter an over-developed character. An over-developed character is a character that comes with unnecessary development in the story.

Sometimes it can be as little as a dialogue line. Passing characters, for instance, a hotel receptionist with no relevance to the story, doesn’t need an active presence in a scene, if he or she will never be mentioned again. Example: “‘Good evening, sir, welcome to Ambassador Leisure,’ said the receptionist smiling. I handed her my passport and filled in my credit card details just before making my way to the lift.”  (Fictitional example). If such a frgament has no relevance to the story development, ditch it.

However, the most common encounter is a minor character with pages dedicated to his or her past. Don’t waste readers’ time with unnecessary details about your characters, such as their past, their family life, their work schedule, their hobbies, their lifestyle, their preference for underwear colour and texture. If the detail doesn’t add anything to the story development, ditch it.

About Lorena Goldsmith

Literary consultant at Daniel Goldsmith Associates.
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