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3 Character Development Musts

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Characters are one of the most vital aspects of the story. If they aren’t fully and properly developed, the results are a flat, 2D story that no one is going to look at as lifelike. Allowing your characters to believe in yoru story as though it were real life is extremely important – no matter what genre you write in. You see, when someone is able to look at a story as real, you are allowing them to connect with it on a personal level. If it falls short of this, however, your story is less likely to be remembered, and as such, it won’t make the mark you hope it will. Characters play a vital role in this.

So how do you ensure your characters are life like? How do you make sure your readers can personally connect with them? Check out these three character development musts to get you started.

1) Keep Them Consistent

This is of the utmost importance. If your main character has blonde hair in chapter one, they shouldn’t have black hair in chapter ten unless you specifically mentioned them dying it. While it’s normal for a character to develop or grow up throughout the course of the story, there shouldn’t be any significant changes in a person’s personality without explanation, either. If a reader notes that your characters aren’t consistent, they won’t only be unable to develop a personal relationship with them, but they probably won’t be buying any of your other books, either. Consistency should be included in your books to the extent that it is included in real life.

2) Build Realistic Relationships

The relationships built between your characters should be realistic. Yes, as writers we have the ability to write things in a way they probably would never happen in real life – usually, these things happen for the better, because we like to make our readers feel all warm and snuggly inside. There is a line you must draw, however, in order for your characters to be realistic. For example, someone would not have a sexual relationship with their sibling. Someone would not have a sexual relationship or friendship with someone who brutally killed their loved one (if they knew the truth, of course). Although there are very few lines drawn, they are there, so keep them in mind.

Additionally, on this note, we should say that character’s relationships must naturally develop. Some of them are already in place when the story begins, while others are initiated during the story itself. Either way, you should ensure that these relationships are developing naturally, over the course of time. It doesn’t necessarily have to be pages or chapters, but actual time. If you skip forward six months at some point in your story, it’s fine for the relationships to jump forward, as well. But someone would not naturally go from hating someone with a fiery passion to marrying them in an hour, you know?

3) Give Them Flaws

Your characters don’t need to be perfect, and in fact, they shouldn’t be. Real people have flaws. Real people make mistakes. Therefore, your characters should have flaws and make mistakes, as well. In fact, not only is this a great way to help make your characters realistic, but it can also be a fantastic way to move the story along – keep things rolling, you know?

If you utilize these three simple things, you can be certain that your characters are realistic. This, in turn, will help your readers to develop more personal relationships with each and every one of them. Have advice of your own to offer us and other readers on how you make your own characters realistic? Feel free to share it in the comments below!

If you’d like to read more on a similar topic, be sure to check out our post, Authors Need To Look Critically At These 5 Things Before Hitting Publish.

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