The Character Series Part 4/5: Creating Believable Characters

The Character Series Part 4/5: Creating Believable Characters



Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird was a noble and honorable man. Imagine if you will if you saw him drunk and groping a waitress who was saying no.

I don’t think you would have the same respect for him. I know I wouldn’t. A character, good or bad, needs to stay in the character that you led the reader to believe he or she was unless you have a very good reason for a surprise change. Sure characters have a change of heart in the end, but perhaps there at some point along the way needs to be a glimmer, a hint of something in them.



No character is usually completely perfectly good or bad in the aspects of either just morals or perhaps self-control or habits. To make one so is unbelievable.

I have a character in a Romance/Love story I’ve written, a trilogy. He’s the hero type. Almost perfect. But he does have flaws in him that show up if you are paying attention and realize it. The story is told from the viewpoint and voice of the woman. We see and hear what she does, but we interpret what she sees and hears differently. His flaws aren’t exactly negative, but they are to some extent.



Playing off the character above, you need to have problems the readers can relate to. The character above is in love with the woman but she’s engaged, and his problem is being in love with a woman younger than he is and trying to be a good man when he really wants so badly to tell her the truth. But he believes if he does then he is a bad man, and he always promised he would be a good man like his father.

I think we have all been in a situation where we like someone that is already spoken for and we can relate to how much that hurts. You instantly want to root for this man.


There are so many things that go into creating a character that it’s really the most difficult part for me. Writing a story, the idea is easy for me. Nailing down all of this is the hard part. But once you do it then things are so much smoother going.

Part 1: Creating Character Names

Part 2: Things to Avoid when Creating Characters

Part 3: Giving Your Characters Their Character

Part 5: Character Beyond the Internal


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The Character Series Part 3/5: Giving Your Characters Their Character

The Character Series Part 3/5: Giving Your Characters Their Character




What if Batman and the Joker were exactly the same? What if Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler were exactly the same? it wouldn’t be very interesting. What’s the fun in two competing characters that are the same? There is no conflict, you have no idea who to choose.

When you create the protagonist and the protagonist . . . give them contrasting characteristics that are obvious to the reader even if they aren’t to the heroine or hero.



To go along with Contrasting Characters you need to have one for the reader to love and one for the reader to hate. Again you have Batman and Joker. In Gone with the Wind, who or what was the antagonist? Something to think about. Was it the Yankees, the carpetbaggers, the scalawags, the old guard South, or was it even perhaps Scarlett?  Could it have been a mindset, ignorance? Yes, there are more characters than just living, breathing things, but let’s not get into that now.



No matter how much you want your reader to love a character or hate a character those characters have to have a sense of purpose to be characters. Just existing will not work. Batman wants to rid the world of crime. Joker wants to maybe just rid the world of the world. But what makes the two long-lasting and beloved characters is that they continue to have a sense of purpose and the purpose is something people can identify with on some level, no matter how fantastic it may be.


Creating a character that is lasting, memorable, and connects with a reader is more involved than we think. Groundwork in the beginning not only makes the characters memorable for you, but it makes for easy writing as you will know the characters so well.

Part 1: Creating Character Names

Part 2: Things to Avoid when Creating Characters

Part 4: Creating Believable Characters

Part 5: Character Beyond the Internal



 2014 © Copyright-All rights