Character Writing: How to make people in your head believable to others

By on September 22, 2017
How to make beleivable characters

Character Writing: How to make people in your head believable to others

Every great story is born out of strong and well-defined characters built with extreme care to details and consideration. It’s every writer’s goal to be able to transmit the energies and concepts he or she puts in the characters created. Here are some things you should keep in mind when building your character.

How to make beleivable characters

Start with a sketch

Before even thinking about the whole story and the trajectory each character will take in the build-up, take some time to make a sketch for each character. There are a few essential points you need to set straight right from the start:

  • Character’s name
  • Interaction and relationship with other characters
  • Possible role in the plot
  • Background of the character
  • Strengths and weaknesses

Take an interview

After you’re done with the character sketch, you can move forward and use a technique that is known to give some pretty awesome results. Pretend that your characters are real persons and take them an interview.

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Ask them real-life questions like what is their proudest moment or if they have an idol or what’s the most precious thing to them. Go as far as you want to, the whole idea is that you get to know your characters, to understand how they think and the psychology behind them.

Make sure every character has a goal

By doing this you will make sure that your characters are believable and alive. Giving them goals and motivation will make your characters more than just by-passers through your story, you will involve them entirely.

You can start by giving them base desires like love, wealth or redemption. Always make sure that the goals you set to your characters are compatible with their overall motivation and role in the story. Of course, that won’t make you Tolkien but it’s definitely an idea worth exploring.

Don’t create ‘perfect’ characters

A perfect character that always does the right thing at the right time might become predictable and boring. That’s why flaws are an absolute must when building a believable character. Flaws are relatable and people will find themselves in your characters by identifying the same flaws they possess.

Another great thing about flaws is that it will make your character more inclined for actions or experiences that are not characteristic of them. By doing that, you will manage to surprise the readers and also make your characters unpredictable.

Avoid stereotypes

The most common mistake you can do is creating a character that represents a stereotype of any kind. Even if this sounds a bit complicated since there are so many stereotypes that are hard to avoid them all, you should be safe by staying away from ethics, nationality or vices.

Build dynamic characters

Even if the main idea is to create strong, believable characters this does not mean they can’t change over time. The events your characters are confronted with should impact them in a believable way and that also involves changing their goals and overall intentions in the story.

In the end, character building is only as hard as you make it. The aim is to create life-like characters that will appeal to your readers and make them identify themselves with the story and situations they go through.

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