"You need more character development."
What does that mean? How do you do develop your characters in 90,000 words? Especially when you have a protagonist, an antagonist, and a couple other main characters.
An additional challenge in my novel is that the entire novel spans the course of a week. One week to show, not tell, that my antagonist is a sociopath.
I've pondered this question for three weeks. Flashback came to mind. I personally don't dislike flashbacks, but I'm thinking not in this particular novel. There has to be a better way. I came up with a solution yesterday, and rewrote chapter one. Added a new chapter two. Stole the second half of chapter one and made it chapter three. Fun. And I think it works.
What I did was add a cat. Not just any cat, but my protagonist's cat that she's had longer than the husband and kids. I showed the love in chapter one. My protagonist's loving and concerned husband had a disagreement about her working, and he stormed out of the room. My protagonist leaves with the kids to walk them to the school bus. Chapter two, her husband hears the door close, returns to the kitchen and peers out the window. Then he picks up old kitty and puts her in a pink pillow case, ties it closed with a shoe lace from his wife's tennis shoe, and buries her alive in the back yard in his wife's flower bed. Bulbs, waiting to be planted. Can you guess who the antagonist is?
If this doesn't set the stage and show that my antagonist is a sociopath, I'm not sure what will. The reader will know that he's capable of anything. Thoughts?
If you have ideas on character building, we would love to hear them.
Enjoy the journey!