Writing characters is just like giving birth : you want them to be the most perfect, most beautiful and most awesome characters in the whole wide world. It doesn’t matter if they are evil or good or maybe a bit rebellious, they have to be just right.
And that’s fine… trust me.
The problem is just that by wanting them to be just right, we often fall back onto horrible stereotypes and overly used clichés.
Here are 3 tips on how to write real characters.
1. Acknowledge their faults
Nobody is perfect, especially not your characters. If they are you should ask yourself if the character you are writing is actually interesting enough. Most interesting characters – it doesn’t matter if it’s Ron Weasley or Katniss Everdeen, all have their own faults and flaws and that’s what makes them so damn fun to read.
Try to think about how your characters would react in certain situations and try to come up with at least 2 flaws you try to write away in your story. These flaws will also give you new inspiration and trust me : it will be a whole lot easier to write the stories of these people, to write real characters, when they feel real.
2. Everybody has secrets…
And so do your characters. Real characters often have a whole bunch of them!
Think about the biggest secret you keep – it does not matter if it is yours or your friends, and think about what would happen when this secret got out.
Would it be nuclear holocaust bad or would you still be able to work things out with the people you are likely to hurt?
Secrets make us human and thus will also give your characters a human feel to them. It does not matter if the secrets are small ( Like in Bridget Jones ) or very big ( Think : Pretty Little Liars ), but try to give your characters these little things to worry about and you will feel them come alive on your screen or paper.
3. Background stories
I know writing out background stories is quite a big hassle, but they are great to go back to when you are stuck. Ask yourself who your characters is, where he or she comes from and what drives him or her. Did things happen in the past that changed their views or maybe their way of living, did they have a happy childhood or would you describe their home situation as quite problematic? I bet you can think of another hundred questions you can ask yourself about your character. Try to write them down and try to fill the blanks in as complete as possible. These little notes and doodles will give you a complete overview of who your characters are and ultimately will help you in deciding how they will react and how they will have evolved at the end of the story. You will see that you getting familiar with your characters will also help your audience get to know your characters and who they really are.
This book will help you to write better and real characters.
Books to get you started