Writing a character who comes off as “interesting” is a feat for any new writer. Characters are the actors in a story, and if they don’t feel real or interesting then the story is half-formed and stilted. So how can you create interesting characters for your story? Below I have 5 suggestions to help you:
- Give Them Flaws. Characters need to have flaws because they are people. Whether this is Pip’s ignorance in Great Expectations, or Romeo and Juliet’s brash actions, characters must make mistakes and do things wrong. It isn’t interesting to read about a perfect person, because that person is unrelatable.
- Give Them Challenges. Characters need to overcome something in order to proceed. This thing can be a person, an obstacle to their goals, or even something like getting ready in the morning for work. Challenges define a human being, and overcoming them defines a character.
- Give Them Likes and Dislikes. Things you like or dislike don’t necessarily have moral weight. You can dislike a type of food or music and not think of that thing as inherently bad. Characters should have these as well, and not specifically to indicate when something is immoral. It’s very easy to make a character dislike another because that character is the “bad guy”. Instead, give them things they dislike for no real reason. These can be interesting quirks or fascinating character elements.
- Give Them Fears. People have things they fear that are unrelated to their goals. Yes, giving a character fears related to their goals is a good idea, like Dorothy fearing she’ll never see Kansas again. However fears can be simply and unrelated to goals specifically, like Holden Caufield fearing the repercussions of being kicked out of school.
- Give Them Questions. People often wonder why things are the way they are. Allow your character to explore the world their in, and figure out why their reality is the way it is. This allows greater world-building in your speculative fiction, but there are other options as well. You could also have them directly confront plot elements by questioning the political climate in the world, or maybe the relationship between characters.
These things make a character interesting. Consider them carefully, and also consider how you can make your characters more fleshed out. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment below. Thanks!