Thursday 10 August 2023

Characters – making them rounded and believable


In better stories no character is ever completely evil or good. The good guys will have their weaknesses and the bad guys will have a few good points or at least a reason for being the way they are.     

You really need to know your characters well before you slot them into a story or a script. You might spend hours doodling in words or pictures in a note book or you might day dream about them as you are going about your daily business.

You need to think of the physical, the mental and the emotional aspects of them. Answering these few simple questions may help. In many stories you can have a hero, an enemy, a friend and a mentor. Do the exercise for the hero (aka main character) and either an enemy, a friend or a mentor.  


  1. What do they look like?
  2. How old are they?
  3. Are they very sporty?


  1. What are they or were they good at at school?
  2. What is their personality like?
  3. Which newspaper would they read if they were an adult in our world?


  1. What do they like?
  2. What don’t they like?
  3. What are they most afraid of?


  1. What is their main aim in this story?


How do they change by the end?


Now put what you have written on one side and write a short scene between the two characters.

Get someone else to read your scene. Maybe ask them questions about your character where the answer isn’t in the script. Do they get it right? Ask all of the questions above. It’s my experience that usually readers get at least seven out of ten right.  

How well do they understand your characters? (i.e. – how well have you written them?) 

Another exercise that may help

Ask a writing buddy to fire questions at you about your character. E.g. What sort of car do they drive? What did they do last night? Where did they last go on holiday?

Can you answer them all? Do any of them lead you into new insights about the characters you have invented?


No comments:

Post a Comment