Five Tips on How to Write a Good Character

The main characters in a story are one of the key things that will make or break the story. Even if you have a wonderful setting and an amazing plot, if your characters are bland then your story won’t live up to its potential. Here are five tips that can help round out your characters and make your story stand out from the rest.


Everyone talks differently. Dig a little deeper into your character’s mind or history to find out how they talk. Are they well educated? If they are, perhaps they won’t use any slang, or maybe instead of saying simple words like ‘good’ they will use other adjectives like ‘excellent’. If the person comes from a particular region or country, they will have unique expressions compared to other characters. Maybe they even have a catchphrase. Find a couple of ways that makes your characters stand out as individuals during sections of dialogue and you will be well on your way to writing a more interesting story.


No two people grow up under the same circumstances, and it’s often our past that defines us. Even if two characters share similarities in their history, they will still differ in their personalities and this is something to use to your advantage. For example, a person who grew up as a victim of war will view the world differently to someone who was a soldier on the opposing side. Allow their history to realistically shape your characters and you will make your story more believable.


Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make is not giving your characters any flaws. Readers don’t like to see perfect Mary Sues, so I recommend giving your characters at least one defining flaw. Making a character arrogant or impatient can be the last thing you need to do to round them out and make them more interesting to read. Flaws are also a great source of conflict for your story.


You and I have reasons why we do what we do, and so do your characters. To make them more realistic, figure out what drives them to do and say what you are writing. Are they acting out of fear? Or maybe it’s love that propels them on their journey. There has to be an end goal that your character wants, and although it’s up to you whether or not they achieve that, showing their motivation will create another good layer for your characters.


By the end of your story, your characters should have changed somehow. While you dragged them along their journey, maybe they recognised what their greatest flaw is and worked on it. Perhaps they acknowledged their fears and overcame them. Whatever you choose to change about your character, make it so both you and the readers are proud of the character come the end of the story. Or, better yet, don’t quite complete your character’s arc and let them finish their development in the sequel.

Hopefully these five tips have given you some ideas on how to create well-rounded characters for your stories. By putting in a little more effort, your characters will be sure to stand out!

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