Fiction Writing: Creating Believable Characters
To help with developing believable and well-rounded main characters create a matrix for each of the characters. Include the basics like name, age, appearance, dress, relationships, personality, strengths, beliefs, hobbies, education, occupation, likes and dislikes. Then consider these aspects of the character: What is her main goal? What is her secret dream? What is she afraid of? How does she spend her spare time? How does she react to other characters? How tolerant is she? How does she deal with change and stress? Where does she hope to be five years from now? What does she most and least like about herself? Does she have secrets, and why does she keep these things secret? What has she been doing for the last few years? What was her childhood like? What person influences her the most? And ask yourself whether you want the character to be liked by the readers.
An important aspect to remember is to create a character with flaws. This will help to make them both believable and sympathetic. The flaws of your protagonist will drive the story.
To help create rounded characters, I collect images relating to them – people, clothes, places etc. and keep them nearby to refer to when I’m writing. This helps me to remember all the details about them.
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