Learning how to protect yourself is one of the highlights of the 2019 Self Defense Conference. Your skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses make you a unique and round character. These are also the characteristics that you need for the people in your story to make them believable.

Here are my tips to help you write believable characters for your short story or novel.

Create A Character Profile

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Every person is unique. So the first way to create a believable character is to create their profile. A profile may vary from writer to writer, but it all includes:

  • physical characteristics such as eye color and shape, height, built
  • likes and dislikes
  • flaws
  • identifying quirks

If you cannot decide what to include in your character profile, a quick Google search can give you various graphic organizers that you can use.

Craft A Backstory

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We all have a past that affects who we are today and who we will be in the future. Likewise, your characters need a backstory too. Their history will give reason towards their motivations and will affect how they act and develop in your story. Here are some guide questions:

  • How was their childhood?
  • Where were they born?
  • Where did they live?
  • Where are their family members, and how did they affect your characters?

Give Your Character A Voice

Listen to how your friends speak. Each of them has distinct voice qualities and word choice. These characteristics should also be present in your characters. And once you decide on your character’s voice, stick to it throughout your story.

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Show Character Development

Change is the sole constant in our life. This adage also applies to your fictional characters. A believable character is affected by the events and your story and changes accordingly. Whether through tragedy, romance, or drama, the people in your fictional world will adapt to these changes.

A bonus tip: the best way to learn how to create a believable character is to observe the people around you! And these people around you are real characters that can inspire the characters in your story. After all, the best stories have characters that we can relate too.

Wendy Heaton Writing Tips