Guest Post: Goals, Emotions, and Body Language: How to Create Realistic Characters by Kara Jorgensen

A guest post I wrote for Kate M. Colby’s blog about creating realistic characters!

Kate M. Colby

One of the most important processes while writing a story is creating realistic characters. Characters can sink or carry a book, and what readers often complain about is a story with “cardboard cut-out” characters. There is a very simple way to do this: from the start, think of them as real people and not characters. By thinking of them as “humans” (whether they’re elves, dwarves, werewolves, etc.), we avoid the cartoon “cut-out” character that lacks dimension. There are certain things to keep in mind while writing a character:

goal1. Humans always have goals whether they know it or not. Some goals are subconscious, but everyone is looking to attain something (fame, money, love, stability, a material goal). People always have short-term and long-term goals, and the ultimate goal humans move towards is happiness/contentment. The arc of your story should focus on at least one but probably several of these goals…

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