Friday, July 30, 2010

Character Relatability

Continuing the character theme of my posts this week…

We want our characters to be relatable in some form or another. The best way to make them relatable is to make them real and interesting. We can’t achieve this if we make all our characters the same mini versions of ourselves. Writers instead need to seize the opportunity to explore the rich variety of the human race. We can relate to more than one personality type. We can cheer for more than one style of goal.

So, what makes people/characters interesting, relatable, and real? Below is a brief list of things that might help when you are creating characters.
  • No one reacts the same way in the same situations.
  • Most of us learn from our mistakes but some of us learn faster than others.
  • Everyone has a different history which will affect their responses.
  • We all look different. Even identical twins have variations in their appearance.
  • Not everyone is beautiful
  • Not everyone is intelligent
  • Even intelligent people have their blind spots
  • Even beautiful people have their faults
  • No one is perfectly good
  • No one is 100% bad
  • We all have differing opinions
  • We all pursue different goals.
  • We all have differing degrees of drive.

Can you think of other things that may make your characters more interesting, relatable and real?


  1. Great post Lynda. It's so true, if your characters are too one dimensional, reader will be bored. I like to develop a history even for the minor characters that only show up occasionally.

  2. I think you have a great list--I'm trying to get my newest characters more interesting--not so beautiful and more real:)

  3. When I first started writing all my characters were beautiful and perfect. lol. Not anymore. ;)

  4. Making the characters real is so much fun :) Good tips!

  5. That's a very good list. It makes me think back to a day when I was in my twenties. I won't tell the whole story, but it involved myself and my two sisters. Something happened and we each reacted to it in a different way. I'd always found our reactions to be indicative of how we each were and to a certain extent, it held true throughout our lives.

  6. first off, love the list!!!
    side note: while all people may not be conventionally beautiful, all have their own kind of beauty. :)

  7. This is a great list! I love delving into my character and discovering what makes them real.

  8. Helen, great story. It illutrates well the differences we all have -- even sisters.

  9. Aspiring, you make a very good point. There is beauty in all of us. The key is finding that beauty :)

  10. awesome list. Great post. Appreciated :)

  11. How about a unique and small scar and/or tatoo...and it never has to be fully explained, either :)

    Hey, I just posted your post on "Lessons from Acting" as this week's installment of Friday Friends on my blog. I liked your ideas! Now let's see what my readers think of your post! :)

  12. Mohamed, I like your idea for adding a small detail to the character to add individuality and interest. Nice one.

    Thanks too for adding me to your Friday Friends!

  13. This was a truly great post. I actually put a little bit of myself into all my characters, including... well, I'll stop there. :}

  14. Welcome, Amanda. We all do put a little bit of ourselves in our characters. We write what we know. But it depends on how much we put in..and do we put in the same things in every character? ;)

  15. Hi Lynda,
    I think motivation is a real interesting part of creating characters. It helps with the layering of backstory and inner conflict. If follows on from that oldie but goodie of asking 'Why" a million times to get to the heart of our characters and who they 'really' are.
    Dorothy ;)

  16. Absolutely, Dorothy. There are so many varying motivations behind peoples actions. That's what makes them intersting.

  17. Hi Lynda,
    I'm visiting via Clarissa's blog and wanted to follow you on Twitter. Alas, your Twitter link isn't connected to your ID. Let me know what it is and I'll follow.


  18. omgosh... thanks for letting me know, Patricia. It should be all fixed now. :)

    If fails again, I'm @LyndaRYoung


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