What Makes A Good Written Character?

1. Think of a conflict

Characters who have everything they need and achieve everything they want are bland.

Where is the conflict? Where do they struggle to overcome themselves or circumstances and achieve their goals?

When creating a character, make sure to put stones in his way to make him suffer a little. Otherwise, the reader will get bored after a few pages.

2. Give him goals

Your character needs goals, a goal to reach, and something to accomplish.

Even if you don't name them specifically, even if only at the end does the character discover that this, and nothing else, was what she had wanted all his life, the goals must be there. Latent.

Because achieving their goals (albeit perhaps ignored) is what should drive everything your characters do.

3. Don't call her a strong female character; call her a woman

In real life, women are strong: they work, take care of their families, and care for themselves. The bad novels (and movies) have turned them into cowardly beings, always waiting for someone else to solve their problems.

When creating a female character, look at the real women around you. You will see that strength is intrinsic to them.

And be careful not to make them stand out at the expense of other characters, as we saw when we talked about stereotypical characters.

4. Choose the gender at the end

Does it matter that much if your character is male or female?

In most novels, this detail is not so relevant.

Think carefully about how you want your character to be, what qualities he will have, what his defects will be, and what his virtues will be. Then, imagine the problems you face and with what spirit you will do it.

Only at the end do you decide if it will be a male or female character.

Doing it before can cause you to discard interesting ideas because you will be imbued with prejudices and stereotypes.

The story of a girl who wants to be a dancer is interesting. But what about a child who wants to be a dancer? There's Billy Elliot.

5. Beware of trauma

When creating a character, you don't have to carry trauma from your childhood to be interesting.

As in real life, what matters is not our past but how we face the future.

More important than the wounds of the past are the goals you set for your character because the goals will be what makes him advance and evolve.

6. Beware of cartoons

You may need an archetypal character in your novel or story, such as the miser or the pretty girl. But in doing so, be careful not to turn it into a caricature.

There is only one step between one and the other, but the effect on the whole story is enormous. Character creation is a complex process, as you can see.

7. Beware of archetypes

Archetypal characters demonstrate a lack of imagination.

They can be fine as supporting characters, but don't make them the main characters.

And if you base yourself on an archetypal character to build your protagonist, give him as many original traits as possible.

Otherwise, the reader will feel that they have already met your character.

8. Do not be afraid of failure

Don't be afraid when creating a character to make it fail.

Seeing a character fail is often more interesting to the reader than seeing him succeed.

It will be because we learn more from failures than from successes.

So, when creating a character, even if he succeeds in the end, it is difficult for him. So, make his purposes shipwreck sometime. Remember point one.

9. Do not judge

Don't judge your characters. Not even the antagonists.

Please limit yourself to giving clues as to why they are the way they are and why they act the way they do. This way, you will make them human and, therefore, more real.

Let the reader judge your character, and don't interfere.

10. Take care of relationships

A character also shows much of himself by interacting with the other characters.

How does your character relate to his mother? And with her boyfriend? And with your co-workers? Who are your friends?

Building a coherent relationship with the environment or a good network of relationships can help you tell more about your character than long descriptions or even an interior monologue.

11. We are not perfect

Real people are not perfect.

We burp, have love handles, and grow hair on our ears.

They are everyday imperfections that we deal with every day. They are part of our condition as human beings.

Why, then, do we steal them when writing?

You don't need to fill your novel with scatological things, but your character can feel bad about pants or squeeze the rubber bands of his socks.

Those things happen.

12. Death is also an option

We all have to die one day.

Why not a character?

Death is part of life. Consider it as an option.

It is tough to kill a character, but it can be a significant fate. Think if not of Anna Karenina.

Here we tell you when it is a good idea to kill a character and when it is not.

13. Choose names well

The name of a character can survive forever, and it can be a reference full of meanings. Think again of Anna Karenina. Or think of Harry Potter.

Choose the name of your characters carefully. And be careful not to be too original unless you're writing science fiction.

When making a character sheet, you can add this element to make it easier for you to remember.

14. Less is more

There is no recipe you can follow to create great characters.

But if you look at the best chefs, you will see that they work with few but well-chosen ingredients.

A cumbersome biography does not give the complexity of a character, added to past trauma and his desire to be a sumo wrestler.

When creating a character, identify their goal and conflict well, focus on them and work from there. It is an essential rule of writing.

15. Look for empathy

You have to make the reader empathize with your characters. (In our writing courses, we always put a lot of emphasis on it and work on how to achieve it.)

Even your villains should have redeeming qualities that allow readers to put themselves in their shoes.

Look for those qualities and develop them in your character. As a result, the creation will be more believable.

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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