Giving Your Characters Depth
By Adriana Ryan
To write a believable character, you have to make him or her seem three-dimensional. A one-dimensional character is stale, tiresome, and won’t hold your reader’s interest for very long.
So how does one go about writing a three-dimensional character? Well, the first ‘rule’ is to know your characters backwards and forwards. What I mean by that is you have to know the character like he or she is your best friend. You need to know his or her birthday, likes, dislikes, major personality traits, etc. Will you use all of this information in your novel? Probably not. Is it still important to know? Yes. The reason it’s important to know all of this minutiae is because this knowledge will ensure that you can envision what your character would do in every situation, how he or she will react to surprises in the plot, and how he or she would interact with different personalities.
To make things easy, you can do a character chart before you even begin writing. That way, you know the main characters thoroughly before you put them down on paper. It can really take the pressure off because you feel like you’re writing about a very close friend.
Here’s a sample character chart. Feel free to use it as is, or to modify it according to your personal needs. This should give you a good start.
Character’s Place of Birth:
Character’s Best Qualities:
Character’s Worst Qualities:
Main Events in Character’s Past (i.e., backstory):
Character’s Physical Appearance (Hair color, Eye color, Height, Weight, Race):
What Role Does This Character Play (Protagonist, Antagonist, etc.)?:
Character’s Family Members:
Why Is This Character Important To Your Story?: