A good quote that I picked up over the weekend came from Jennifer Fallon who is an Australian Fantasy author. She said that:
Writers block is veering out into the wilderness and not knowing where you're going and finding yourself running face first into a wall.
Whether you're a writer who plots out the novel completely before even writing a word or one who writes by the seat of the pants, you need to know the main destination. This is extremely important for the character. You don't want to get to the end of the story and realise your character's moved in a straight line, not learning anything or making any developments during the entire journey.
Let's face it, no reader likes to read a character (especially an annoying one) who is the same from beginning to end, just stepping aside casually for every obstacle you throw at them.
When I write I like to keep track of how my character's developing, well mainly because mine have a tendancy to run amuck if I don't keep an eye on them.
One way to make sure the character does develop along the way is to create a timeline or chart that states what the character's like (personality and traits) at the beginning of the story and where you want them to be at the end (how are they different? how have they changed?).
To make sure you're on track with a character's development is to play the role of the psychiatrist. Every time you finish writing, or have a major plot point occur, make a small note on how the character's feeling/are they actually making any developments.
Just by keeping note of if/when/how the character's developing it's going to assure that you're not going to find yourself with a story where the character exists because they need to.
So, how do you make sure your characters develop over the course of the story?