Character Development

When I complained about challenges in life, my dad used to tell me: “It’s good for you; it builds character.” He would say it as if in jest, but I knew he meant it.

People’s interest in some of the characters in Believing In Horses, has surprised me. Readers have asked:

  • “Who was that supposed to be?”
  • “Are these real people?
  •  “Is your book an autobiography?”
  •  “Is that me?”

My responses vary, as some characters are more real than others. Some characters came to life through lifetime associations, others brief meetings, and others pure imagination. I created one particular character based a fellow student during a one-week Certified Horsemanship Association riding instructor certification clinic. People often don’t realize the lasting impression their actions and treatment of others create – both good and bad.

What has developed the characters we are?

To me, true character development comes from not only how we deal with challenges in life, but also how we deal with other characters in our lives. How have our life’s characters impacted us? When challenged by others, how have we reacted? If a writer depicted our character accurately in a book today, would we like who we saw? A good challenge might be answering those questions to help think about who we are, and building and developing the real characters we’d like to see.


  1. Hi, Valerie. Thanks for stopping by my blog Picture Books & Pirouettes yesterday. It is so nice to connect with more writers in Maryland. Congratulations on your upcoming book! I’ve always found it fascinating to listen to how writers come up with their characters, so I enjoyed this post!