How To Build Realistic Characters – A Quick Introduction

eVhLrI’ll be brief with this one, since I’m a little tired tonight. But I’ll be going through a step-by-step guide of what I think makes a great character.

What makes a good character? And what makes a bad character?

A good character has these traits:

  • Real Flaws
  • Character development
  • Real Goals and desires
  • Is three dimensional

A bad character has these traits:

  • No real flaws
  • No character development
  • Is shallow with no real goals and desires
  • Is two dimensional

So, what do I mean by real flaws?

Well, a real flaw could be a personality trait that defines someone. If your character is always angry all the time this would be considered a flaw. However, someone who appears really clumsy might seem like a flaw, but this is false. Tripping over your own feet is not a character flaw. Yes, it might seem goofy, but real flaws don’t work that way.

A flaw is something inside a character that makes them imperfect. It is a trait that no person is immuned to.

This could be a host of things…

  1. Jealousy
  2. Greed
  3. Perfectionism
  4. Controlling or possessive
  5. Manipulative
  6. Mental illness
  7. Vanity
  8. Obnoxiousness
  9. Phobias
  10. Sloth or laziness
  11. Addiction
  12. Depression

Now, there are other flaws that you can add to make a character imperfect that deals with the outer, such as appearances. However, this shouldn’t be used as the only factor. It’s best to have a wide range of imperfections.

  1. Body deformities
  2. Handicapped or crippled
  3. Birth defects
  4. Old Age
  5. Diseases
  6. Body odor or smell
  7. Obesity
  8. Baldness or unsightly facial hair
  9. Acne/pimples

Now, I won’t go into every detail about what makes a good character, but how about a bad character. What defines them? Basically, a bad character is someone who is perfect in every way. Literally speaking…

Signs of a bad character:

  • Always attractive or always in their youth.
  • Slim or sexy body type. Never old. Never overweight.
  • Has no real obstacles in their way and if they do, it’s solved pretty quickly.
  • Considered loved by all.
  • Typically, a Mary Sue or a Gary Sue.
  • Doesn’t show any character growth whatsoever.
  • Never changes or learns from their mistakes.
  • They are flat, like a cardboard cutout.

And that’s it for now. We’ll talk more about characters in another post.


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