Developing Interesting Characters

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Want to write absorbing fiction? Here are some types of characters that will add interest to your stories.

1) Characters with self-delusions.

Maybe your character believes she is generous -- but her motives are really selfish.

Maybe he thinks he's the life of the party -- but everyone else thinks he's boorish and rude.

Maybe she sees herself as a victim -- but really she's the victimizer.

This kind of self-delusion adds interesting layers to a character, and provides plot opportunities. The reader might be aware of the character's true nature throughout the story, creating narrative irony. Or the revelation might come at the end, as a plot twist.

2) Characters who are stuck in the past.

Maybe your character experienced a traumatic event that shapes his or her present behavior. Or maybe s/he is obsessed with a past triumph. Examples:

- Your character has such an idealized memory of her high school romance that now, twenty years later, no romantic partner can meet her impossible standards.

- Your character fought in a war and now has trouble adapting to civilian life.

- Your character was once betrayed by someone close to her and now has trouble trusting anyone.

The past event might be the turning point of a plot, or simply a way to add depth to the character, hinting at a life that extends beyond the frame of your story.

3) Characters with contradicting traits.

Maybe your character is cruel to people but gentle to animals.

Maybe your character is ultra-competent at work, but her personal life is a mess.

Maybe your character is outgoing and confident with everyone except for the person he secretly loves.

Contradictions like these add dimension and surprise to a character. If contradictory traits come in direct conflict with each other, that can be the basis of your a plot.

Click here for more character development ideas.

women laughing, representing character development for stories

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