A Discovery of Characters

This week I’m creating new characters for my next book. It’s funny how real some characters can seem to us. We all have our favourites and some of them feel like old friends.

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Every character is the hero of their own story. If they are written well enough, any character can be great. Even if they only have a tiny part in the story we are reading, they can feel real to us.

Real people are multi-dimensional so characters have to be, too. It’s not enough for them to be strong or good or ordinary. They must also be vulnerable, have flaws or rise to extraordinary challenges. Great characters don’t get everything right all the time, which helps us identify with them.

Even antagonists, if they have a redeeming feature, can inspire hope. We hope they will overcome their flaws and do the right thing. Hands up if you could use a little hope right now…

Even conflicting characters can be great. Learning to see things a different way through conflict with another character can help the main character become a better person or achieve their goal. Conversely, sometimes we discover there is a good reason for them not to like another character – our fictional friends can have excellent intuition. And the nicest of characters can have an internal struggle.

So, what is the key quality that makes a character great?

Great characters make us feel we can be more than we currently are.

Those are my thoughts on characters. What makes a character great for you?

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