5 Tips for Developing Fictional Characters

Developing a memorable fictional character is essential because they stick with readers or viewers long after forgetting crucial plot points. A good character should be compelling, relatable, and believable. They should represent a clear viewpoint, remind viewers/ readers of real people, and have a deep backstory.

Creating excellent characters is instrumental to writing impactful stories. Believable fictional characters should be three-dimensional and distinctive. Their attributes should be natural, including personalities, backstories, and appearances, to ensure they’re relatable. Here are five tips for developing fictional characters.

  1. Create character arcs

Creating character arcs is crucial to knowing your primary characters, mainly the lead to convincingly demonstrate how they act to achieve their plot objective and react to the barriers the villain plus other internal and external factors which obstruct them from achieving their story arc goal. This helps develop a lead your audience can identify with and rally behind while making an enthralling plot. A good character arc should have a desire, flaw, and need.

While some genres may have flat character arcs, the lead’s development is excellent for showcasing your protagonist’s evolution throughout the story toward a positive ending. You can fill out a character questionnaire as you continue asking yourself questions and answering them to reveal more of your characters’ beliefs and values.

  1. Form a character’s motivation

Character motivation is a crucial factor in creating a robust and compelling character. It’s the reason for their actions. Motivation is something a character needs. It can be associated with their survival, something on which they pivot their existence or identity, or somebody else’s existence. However, motivation can sometimes be less life-changing, particularly for minor or side characters. Motivation can be external, including psychological needs, protecting the environment/ society, or safety. It can also be external, such as making friends, finding love, atonement, or getting revenge.

  1. Write character voice

Character voice is the distinct way a fictional character expresses themselves inwardly and outwardly. It can be communicated via a character’s thoughts, personality, and how they sound. You can develop exclusive voices for various characters via spoken dialogue, other characters’ views, or a story point of view. You can express your character’s voice through a first-person point of view by telling your story completely from their viewpoint.

Third-person limited, unreliable narrator and third-person omniscient are other ways to demonstrate character voice. When writing a character voice, concentrate on dialogue, be particular when deciding how your character will sound, focus on body language, and ensure your voice (the author) is distinct from your characters’ voices.

  1. Create conflict

Creating conflict is an excellent way to develop interesting characters. It can help you dig deeper into your story’s characters. It can also demonstrate their strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and aims in a story while evoking more depth into a narrative’s meaning. A fictional story can have one evident conflict or multiple conflicts that one or more characters must deal with. There are various ways to create conflict, which can be quite interesting if done creatively.

  1. Ensure your characters have the right skills

The right skills ensure your characters function well in your setting. Whatever skills you want in your characters, ensure they learn how to apply them.


Creating compelling and memorable characters is essential to writing an impactful story. Use these tips to develop fictional characters.     

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