How To Write Good Characters?

Your story may be well-conceived or have a strong plot, but without good characters, it will crumble like a house of cards. The skeleton of your story is made up of realistic, good characters. But how do you create interesting characters? We will explain how to do so.

Even if there is no recipe for the perfect novel, writing must be learned. As an author, you can educate yourself on conceptualizing the material for an exciting book and develop exciting characters from an idea on the Internet, in various author guides, or during a workshop. However, there is no universal recipe for success because every story is unique.

Successful novels, such as the Harry Potter series, always have one thing in common: a strong main character with whom the reader empathizes and develops a closeness, almost like a friend. But how do you create a main character who truly captivates your readership? The Five suggestions below can assist you.

  1. Avoid clichés

It may sound like a clincher, but clichés still appear frequently in stories. Clichés appear in both the characters and their dialogue. That's a shame because it degrades your story and, more importantly, your characters. Be creative, come up with new angles, and find unique ways to describe something.

  • Give the main character a goal.

The main character must urgently want, need, or have lost something. Consider looking for work because he or she will otherwise lose his or her home. In a fantasy story, it could be the boy who has to travel to a faraway land to find medicine for his critically ill sister. And what about the person who pretended to look for work and came up with many skills and functions? Keeping up appearances and not allowing the deception to come true is an end. A strong target in a thriller where someone must escape from a maniacal killer is also an exciting target. The more powerful the target, the more powerful your character is.

  • The main character goes through a development.

Please make sure that your main character has not only achieved his or her goal by the end of the story but that he or she has also been changed by it. For example, while he may have started as a scared mouse, the challenges he faced along the way transformed him into a self-assured hero. Or the girl who claimed she'd been an office manager for years to get that one job but had never seen a copier or even a stapler up close. By the end of the story, she has evolved into an excellent office manager who may even be promoted because of her struggle not to be public. Allow your protagonist to grow not only physically, from the beginning to the end goal, but also to overcome fears or process traumas.

  • Provide an antagonist

Giving your main character a strong antagonist or an opponent makes your story more lively and ensures that the secondary character is a genuine addition. The antagonist can be your main character's sidekick (think Robin in Batman and Watson in Sherlock Holmes) or the loved one he or she (almost) loses or can't get. But, of course, it could also be the villain who must be defeated, making life difficult for your main character.

  • Good characters you can identify with

Finally, make sure the reader can relate to your main character. Characters who aren't perfect are more entertaining. Make the reader think: oh, he/she has that, too, or: oh, I'm glad I'm not that clumsy yet (think of Bridget Jones, for example). However, a character who does something your reader would like to do (but is afraid to do) provides an opportunity for your reader to identify. You can make your characters more realistic by including good and bad habits.

Oh, and don't forget to give your characters exciting names! This could be a valuable tool in that regard.

Why your story should best be "character-driven."

Historically, stories were primarily "plot-driven," meaning that the action was in the story's foreground. This is still true, for example, in crime novels, western novels, and comedies. The characters are almost interchangeable because they lack depth, and the reader learns little about their backstories.

However, there has been a shift in the last few decades. Most books and films focus on the hero rather than the plot. They are told in a "character-driven" style, with the protagonist and his or her development as the story's focal point. As a result, they have real depth and thus a much higher potential for identification than Karl May's Winnetou, who focuses primarily on his adventures.

Here are resources I recommend to get more in-depth knowledge

Storytelling 101 teaches you how to write compelling stories worthy of commercial success. This is best for screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, videogame writers and storytellers.

Children’s Books 101 teaches you how to write stories that children will love. This is best for aspiring children’s book authors and storytellers.

Owl AI is the revolutionary AI-powered content production platform that helps storytellers, writers, and bloggers of all subject matter easily create highly-polished content.

Success, Money & Mindset Subliminal is a self-hypnosis recording that we recommend to new writers to help with focus, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.


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