After answering this question: Character is onscreen for three seconds I took a look at the tags. and

I added but realized I didn't know if I should delete or if both were appropriate, or maybe I was wrong to add .

- Real questions about imaginary people. x550
- Anything pertaining to developing the details associated with characters in your writing. x387

I checked the synonyms and there are none for either of these tags (except that points to ).

The only relevant Meta question I found was Moderator re-tag requests: [characters] and [character-naming] The question is about a different but related problem, though is mentioned in an answer.

Other character related tags are: and

So...how are and different? When would we use one vs the other? When would we use both?

1 Answer 1


Sometimes a question can be about other aspects of the character than character-development. For example, my own Writing diversity is about having a diverse cast of characters. It's not about how the characters grow and change - it's about having them there in the first place. Another question that fits one tag, but not the other: Writing witty/funny characters with deadpan humour. On the other hand, I can't think of a question that would go under but not also fit under .

As I understand it, would be about the arc of the character's change, whereas can also be about various static elements of the character.

This is not the only case we have of one tag being sort of a sub-tag for another. Consider or : anything that discusses characters would probably also fit under those two, right?

My own tendency is to apply to a question the tags that are a bit broad (e.g both and ) but not the tags that are very broad (e.g ) if there's a more specific tag to be found. My logic is that if someone is looking for information on an aspect of character development, he might look under "character" - it makes sense. So it's useful to apply both. But looking for the same information under "fiction" would lend him more irrelevant information than relevant information, so there's no sense in applying the tag - one wouldn't be looking for this question there.

  • 1
    Nice answer, thank you. I will say though that, to me, character development is not just about a character developing/changing over time, but about the writer developing the character. No? Both in terms of sitting down and coming up with the character and her/his story but also showing that character throughout the work (that last one being why I tagged the post in my question). Does that sound right to you, or am I off?
    – Cyn
    Jan 3, 2019 at 16:30
  • 2
    @Cyn Haven't really thought of this aspect of the tag before. Sounds right, though. Maybe at some point we'd have to go over those tags, and edit the tag wiki to be clearer and more specific. Jan 3, 2019 at 16:35
  • 1
    Nodding. Given how popular both of these tags are, it would be good to clarify it.
    – Cyn
    Jan 3, 2019 at 16:37

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