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How To Come Up With Believable Characters For Your Novel

  • By Winston Kuwada
  • Published 02/13/2012
  • Writing

If you are writing a novel, or planning to, then you are doing something that the vast majority of people wish they could. Most everybody has an idea in the back of their minds that they could put together some kind of story or screenplay that everybody would love. But because you are here reading this article, you have taken a concrete step to make your dream a reality. Not only a reality for you, but a reality for all the people that are going to buy, read, and enjoy your novel. However, the road to finishing is a long one. There are many steps you’ve got to go through. One of them is to come up with a few believable characters that your readers can sympathize with. In this article, you’ll learn how to do that. In order to write real characters, they have to be real to you. You have to know much more about them that your readers can possibly find out. So before you even start writing, write a short biography of each character. Start from their childhood, school, and all the way up to the present. The more detail you can put in, the better.

People will think your characters are real if they have real human flaws that they must overcome. So give them some real, human weaknesses. In order to justify these weaknesses, you are go

ing to have to create something in their past that lead to these weaknesses. For example, if your character is claustrophobic, then perhaps when they were a child, their friends or one of their parents locked them in a closet or a small room for several hours, mentally scarring them for life. Give your character a few of these, to make them as real as the people that will be reading your book. During the course of the story, your characters are going to have to overcome some obstacles. In order to be interesting, in order to overcome these obstacles, they must face and overcome their weaknesses. And it must not be obvious that they will succeed. Your readers have to have genuine doubt that they’ll come out OK. Of course, your characters will come out OK, unless you are writing a tragedy in the Greek tradition. But if they do come out OK, they have to have become improved and better humans. People that didn’t trust others have to learn to trust. People that couldn’t open their hearts have to learn to love. People that couldn’t accept responsibility must become a leader. You get the idea.

By taking these basic ideas into consideration, you’ll be creating characters that are not only believable, but whose actions will keep your readers up at night wondering what’s going to happen next. Keep writing, and keep dreaming.


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