1.) Personality: Some characters read like cardboard. Sure, the characters run around and do things that get things moving to the next action sequence or the next plot point. These characters aren’t the ones that will be remembered later. So, give your characters a personality; you’ve got one!
2.) Flaws: On a practical level, someone who is good at everything and bad at nothing is boring and unbelievable. Characters can be good at things, but they can’t be too good. Balance is a must! If they’re the best at something, they should also be the worst at something.
3.) Room to Grow: Characters grow and change. The most interesting characters are the ones who at least have the capability to change. Readers want to go on a journey with the character. They want to go along for the ride!
4.) The Right Name: You don’t just pick it out of a hat. It has to be the right name! You’ve got to find the right name or let your character tell you who they are. Trust me, sometimes your character comes to you with a name. Also make sure this name doesn’t sound like the name of another character in your book. You don’t want to confuse readers, nor do you want them to be thinking about another character from a different book or movie. The character’s name does matter.
5.) Recognition: When you see yourself or someone familiar to you in a character the connection is instantaneous. It’s like meeting a long lost friend! When we see situations a character faces as ones we’ve been through ourselves, we feel closer to the character. You relate to the character and the lives they lead. You feel for their difficulties. You take comfort in characters knowing that you’ve felt their feelings, too. You take these characters into your heart and they never leave.
What makes a character perfect for you?
Tell me yours in the comments.