5 Tips for More Interesting Characters

Are you characters boring? Are critics telling you that they’re flat and have no personality? I ran into this exact situation a few weeks ago. Follow these simple steps for more colorful, interesting characters. 

1: Give Them A Habit

What does your character do every day? Do they check their social media? Read the paper? Walk the dog? By knowing their habits, readers can better know your character. 

2. Give Them A Hobby

Hobbies are a key personality trait of your characters. Just like every person alive, give your character a favorite past time. 

3. Include Some Insecurities

Overly confident characters are such a bore! Whether it be height, weight, or trying to impress everyone, make sure your characters have something that holds them back. 

4. Loners Are Not For Long Stories

For a few page story, a loner character may work great. But for something longer than a few pages, it’s not the best idea. Always have someone else for your character to talk to every once in a while. Dialogue is key to their personality. 

5. Give Them A Quirk 

Is your character overly apologetic? Self-centered? A downer? Or maybe they’re careless? Always make sure your character has some type of quirk to liven them up. 

So, what IS fiction?

Every time I have to read a story for my extremely tedious fiction II class, I get frustrated when writing commentary at the end of the story. My professor always asks us to explain what makes the story fiction. I’m always sitting there thinking, “well it’s not true, so that makes it fiction.” Fiction=not real.

Fiction’s online definition basically says the same thing, but a lot fancier. It is defined as, “literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that described imaginary events and people.”

So it isn’t real and also requires the use of the imagination. Dictionary.com defines fiction as a “made-up story.” But then again, parts of nonfiction can also be made up. My professors called this “heavy embellishing.” So if parts of nonfiction can be made up, then therefore, the whole entire fiction story must be made up.

So we’re now at “a story where everything is made up and you have to use your imagination” as our definition.

But how can you relate this definition of fiction back to every single story you read in class? Well if a story has a dragon in it, the answer would be “dragons don’t exist, so that makes it fiction.” But what if the story is actually very realistic? Let’s say it’s a couple going to the coffee shop and they break up while they’re there. This has happened to millions of people. What makes that specific story fiction? In order to answer this question, just like fiction, you will have to make something up.