Funny, you don’t seem fake

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Creating a character that seems believable is tricky. One reader might read your character and feel like they made a new friend, and another might read the dialogue and think, No one talks like that.

While you can’t make everyone happy all the time, you can take some steps to make your characters feel complex and well developed. Flat characters are characters that readers know little about, and likely the author knows little about. The more you know your character, the more you can share with the readers.

Here are a few things to think about as you write your character:

  1. How does your character interact with a space? When you describe surroundings, make your character act within them or to them. Writing “There was a big desk in the room.” is a missed opportunity, when you could say, “He felt intimidated by the large mahogany desk.”
  2. What aspects of your character influence his or her behavior? Gender, sexuality? What about traits, likes and dislikes? Characters, like people, should behave differently because of their experiences.
  3. Is your character likable? Do you like the character? Some of my favorite characters seem like really miserable people. Here I share some thoughts on writing a character you don’t like.
  4. Does your character have dreams and fantasies? The deep inner thoughts of characters — or even the frivolous ones — tell your readers so much about your character!
  5. What motivates your character? Motivation is needed in every scene you write. Your character needs to want something. So do you know what motivates your character?

I hope these ideas help you flesh out your characters. Happy writing!

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