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HOW TO MAKE CHARACTERS FEEL REAL

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Dihaan K.

10/25/20232 min read

More often than not, we find ourselves seeking out books in which the protagonists and antagonists are REAL and RELATABLE. Characters which don’t fall flat but instead gleam in that three-dimensional way, not paper characters but real flesh and blood. People we can relate to in all honesty, and honestly, these characters are becoming as rare as foliage these days. With fanfiction and erroneous books taking over the industry nowadays, we simply have no chance to boast about how this character or that reminded us of ourselves or someone else.

And so, for all the writers out there: here is how to make your characters feel real.

 Ditch the primordial descriptions and go beyond.

Describe their hair of course, and their eyes, but don’t just leave it at that. Just knowing how their hair looks or their eyes glimmer doesn’t cut it, instead, go for the tiny details. How they stand or walk, how their posture is, and nervous habits they have, like putting their hands in their pockets or playing with their fingers. How they look at people, how they start conversations, or just what somebody’s perception might be of them at first sight.

 Fears and aspirations.

They’re scared of heights, they want to be an artist. These simple everyday personality-wise aspects just make characters that much more humane. Fears don’t make you stupid; everybody has them, and as for aspirations, go ahead and make them controversial!! It’ll make them so much funnier if they’re scared of animals but want to be a veterinarian. What if arguments upset your protagonist but they still want to be a lawyer? Controversy is a part of life, go ahead and embed it in your characters as well. We all love it.

 Likes and dislikes.

They hate the way the sky looks on a summer morning, or maybe they love cereal dry instead of with milk. Quirks, yes, you heard me. They dislike being given birthday cards, but they adore flowers as gifts. They like letters but not emails, they loathe Taylor Swift but they like alt rock. Or maybe they like wearing their shoes mismatched just to annoy someone, go wild with it.

 Music taste and aesthetics.

Indie, pop, r-n-b, alt rock, metal rock, country, jazz, anything as long as it fits them, or maybe it doesn’t fit them, that’s still fine. Favourite artists, favourite songs, mention them all. Maybe they hum when listening to music, or maybe they randomly start singing along, it’s cute.

And the aesthetics. Maybe they’re fixed on one or two or maybe they interchange all the time. Make them feel real.

 Accent.

I am hyperfixated on accents. Brits, yes, obviously, but er, Latinas? Of course!! Maybe they have a concentrated accent, or maybe a light one, or maybe they stutter when they’re talking fast, or have a slight lilt. It adds to their personality, and above all, are relatable.

 Family, friends and background.

I know what that means to a writer. Cook up the most tragic backstory ever. Orphan them- make their landlord kick them out, their family abandon them and make their life resemble a stormy sea, until of course, you decide to make it all better with some money and a personality. Please for the love of God, don’t do that. Tragic backstories should be kept in check. Just give them at least something to hold on to. Put yourself in their place, would you really like to be homeless? Would I like to be homeless? ….No.

I hope you like my tips!