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Character Creation,  Writing Tips

How To Write Dynamic and Interesting Characters

You can write the best plot with the most creative twists and turns, but without the dynamic characters to back it up, the story will always fall flat.

The characters in your story should come alive. They should be relatable, full of personality, and unique.

If you were to put your character in a different setting, you should be able to picture how they would react based on their personality, likes, dislikes, fears, dreams, etc.

Appearances are necessary on some level, but who your character is, inside, is far more meaningful.

Keep reading to learn how you can ensure each character you write is dynamic and exciting.

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Give Them Goals

Both the protagonist and antagonist should have inner and outer goals. Most writers create clear goals for the protagonist but forget that the antagonist needs goals as well. Both should be dynamic and have something they work towards throughout the whole story.

Outer Goal

The outer goal is the one most people are familiar with when they think of a ‘goal.’ This is what the character aims for and where the majority of the conflict lies. Usually, the outer goal of the protagonist is opposite that of the antagonist. The character’s outer goal is something that is outside of themselves.

Examples of Outer Goals:

  • Winning a race
  • Finding the treasure
  • Defeating the enemy

Take Harry Potter for example; Harry’s outer goal is defeating Voldemort.

Inner Goal

The inner goal is what the character hopes to find in themselves, whether that be strength, courage, confidence, etc. This is where the character comes alive. The inner goal is what’s most relatable to the reader. Harry isn’t relatable to people because he’s a wizard on a quest to defeat an evil wizard, but because he is the underdog. His family, his classmates, and even his teachers continuously step on him, but he has to rise above it and gain that confidence to be able to kill Voldemort finally.

Usually, the inner goal can be thought of as the “why” to the outer goal. They want to win the race to feel more confident in themselves.

Characters Need Personalities

Everyone has a personality; your characters should be no exception. It’s so important not only for your main characters to have personalities but the minor characters as well.

The more characters that have their own unique personality, the more dynamic your story will become.

To have dynamic and engaging characters, they should have their own quirks, likes, dislikes, goals, fears, everything you can think of.

Keeping track of all the personalities of each character is not easy. This is why a story bible can be so beneficial as each character will have a section filled with all of the details of who they are, what they look like, and what they aim to achieve.

The more detail you give a character, the better you will know how they will react to situations in your story, even if they don’t seem important at first.

Example:

You have a character, Bill, who you imagine to hate snakes. You don’t plan on having any snakes in your story, but you write it down anyway.

Halfway through the story, you have Bill find ancient ruins with pictures of snakes on the walls. 

Since you know he has a fear of snakes, you write him to act accordingly in the story.

Example:

Your main character, Lyla, has a quirk where she always wears a bow in her hair.

In the plot, she goes through a significant event that changes her, and you write about how her friends saw her without the bow and knew something was wrong.

Get Emotionally Invested

You know a character’s been written well when they go through a loss or tragedy, and you find yourself crying for them. That is precisely how you should feel for your characters.

If you don’t feel emotionally invested in your characters, they are not dynamic enough. Ask yourself why the character’s emotions and situations aren’t resonating with you. Is the problem not believable? Are the character’s reactions not strong enough?

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