Learning how to write characters is essential to telling a memorable story. Use this character writing hub to find our best posts on how to write characters. Read about stock and archetypal characters, character descriptions, creating interesting character goals and motivations, and more. Use the table of contents below to jump to the subcategory that interests you most right now.
Table of Contents
Character Flaws and Strengths
Character Goals and Motivations
Get our practical eBook guide with exercises for developing believable, interesting characters: How to Write Real Characters.
Read about Jungian character archetypes such as the ‘Warrior’, the ‘Lover’ and more. Find tips for avoiding cliched stock characters and archetypes as well as common character types in popular genres.
1. Character archetypes: How to enrich your novel’s cast
What are the 12 main character archetypes? How can you use them to write diverse casts for your stories? Read this to find out.
2. 5 ways to subvert character clichés and archetypes
Character clichés and common archetypes can make characters two-dimensional. How can you subvert overused character tropes and breathe new life into them? Learn here.
3. Archetype examples: Write great characters from universals
How can you use common character archetypes creatively? Read tips for changing characters’ archetypes mid-way through your story, making different types clash for interesting conflicts, and more. Read the post.
Great character conflicts supply the drama and excitement that keep dynamics between characters in an intriguing state of flux. Read about person vs self and other conflict types, as well as tips for stoking tensions.
4. External and internal conflict: Definitions, examples and tips
How do you create characters whose internal conflicts compete? What’s the difference between internal and external conflict? Read this for help creating character conflicts.
5. 6 story conflicts possible in your book
What are the 6 main types of story conflicts your characters can encounter? Read about different types of conflict that can provide challenges and trials by fire for your characters.
6. 6 conflict types in fiction: Man vs self
What happens when a character is their own worst enemy? Read this post for tips on writing characters who are torn by a struggle with self.
7. Person vs society: 6 types of story conflict
What happens when a character is in conflict not just with one or two others but their entire society? Learn more here about writing character vs society conflicts.
Writing strong character description ensures readers can picture your characters clearer. Find articles below on everything from how to describe eyes and hands to describing characters’ posture, voices and more.
8. How to describe: Writing clear places and characters
Read tips on everything from finding the right character adjectives to describe your characters to using setting description to reflect the observing character’s personality.
9. Character posture: How to describe characters’ bearing
What does your character’s posture tell the reader about them? Learn more about describing your characters’ posture.
10. How to describe hands: 6 ways to make characters real
What do your characters’ hands tell the reader about their background, personality and other elements? Read tips for describing hands.
11. How to describe clothing in a story: Creating characters
What do characters’ clothing say about their status and position? How can you use clothing details to contrast characters’ personalities? Read tips on these aspects of character clothing description and more.
12. Describing characters: How to describe faces imaginatively
What does a character’s face tell the reader about them? Read tips for describing characters’ faces in interesting ways.
13. How to describe eyes in a story: 7 simple tips
Describing characters’ eyes is full of cliché pitfalls. Read tips for being more creative with eye descriptions.
14. Realistic dialogue: Creating characters’ speech patterns
How do you make characters’ speech in dialogue reflect their background, their time and place? Read tips here.
15. Talking about your character: Voice
What does your character’s voice say about them? What are practical methods to create distinct character voices? Read tips here.
16. Character mannerisms: Describing character quirks and tics
What are the tics, mannerisms or quirks that make your characters individual and unique? Read tips for creating character mannerisms here.
17. Character description: 7 ways to avoid weak imagery
How do you keep character description relevant to your scene? How do you avoid weak descriptive imagery? Read this article for answers.
18. Character description examples: 7 lessons from famous books
Read character description examples from well known books and the lessons good descriptions teach us.
19. How to describe a person vividly: 7 tips
How do you make character description vivid? Read tips to bring out each of your characters’ unique qualities.
Character development is an important part of making your characters complex, three-dimensional. Find all our articles on developing your characters below, from creating believable backstory to building strong character arcs.
20. 5 character background writing tips: Better backstory
What events in your characters’ pasts shape them? Read this article for tips on writing better backstory.
21. How to write backstory but not bog down your book
Too much character backstory can sometimes imbalance the flow of your book. Read tips for balancing backstory with present-time exposition.
22. Character development: 9 tips for convincing arcs
How do you shape a character’s development from the start of your story to the end? Learn more about creating strong character arcs.
23. Character development questions: Building character arcs
Sometimes developing compelling character arcs is a matter of asking the right questions. Read questions to ask about your characters’ arcs.
Character Flaws and Strengths
Giving characters flaws and strengths makes them more human and relatable. It also gives characters advantages and disadvantages, throwing additional factors into the mix when your characters faces obstacles and challenges.
24. Character flaw list: 30 intriguing character flaws
What are flaws that make characters interesting and complex? Read a list of 30 character flaws from ‘lust for power’ to ‘greed’, ‘jealous’ and more, with examples.
25. Good character flaws: Create complex antagonists
What character flaws make interesting antagonists? Read this article for insights.
26. Character flaws: Creating lovable imperfections
What flaws make characters relatable and help us emotionally connect with characters? Read flaws you can use positively in character development here.
27. What are good character traits? 7 helpful attributes
What are positive character attributes that help people get ahead, win friends and lovers? Read tips for creating likable characteristics in your story’s cast here.
Character Goals and Motivations
Giving characters goals and motivations is an effective way to create a sense of direction in your characters’ paths through your story. Goals and motivations help to explain why people make the choices they do. Read our best posts on giving your characters believable goals and motives.
28. Character motivation examples: 7 tips for clear motives
What motivates your characters? How do you create conscious and unconscious motivations? Find answers to these and more.
29. Character motivations: 6 questions on what drives your characters
How do character motivations tie into backstory? What do your characters fear most? Learn more about understanding characters’ motivations.
The first time we meet a character it’s a great opportunity to learn a memorable detail or two that cements said character in our mind’s eye. Read our posts on character introductions and making characters more memorable.
30. How to introduce characters: 6 ways to be memorable
What are the different ways you can introduce a new character in your story? Find suggestions here.
31. How to start a story in first person: 8 pointers
When introducing a first person narrator for the first time, here are ways to make this character memorable.
Naming characters is often challenging. How do you give characters names that fit their type or persona? Read our best posts on naming your characters:
32. Naming characters: 5 steps to find fictional character names
What’s in a name? Read tips for using name meanings and symbolism to make each character’s name count.
33. Character profiles: 5 questions for a detailed cast
Once you’ve named a character, there’s still more info to add to flesh out their profile. Read this post for ideas.
Different types of characters, from heroes to villains and sidekicks, helpers and lovers, serve different purposes in a story. Read our best articles on character types below:
34. Writing a main character: Definitions, tips and examples
What exactly is a main character? What is their story purpose and how do you create a good one? Read tips here.
35. Protagonist examples: Creating memorable main characters
How do you make a main character or protagonist memorable? Learn about creating strong protagonists.
36. How to create a villain readers won’t forget: 6 tips
How do you create an unforgettable villain? Try these suggestions.
37. How to write a villain: Writing a more human antagonist
How do you make an antagonist in your story more human? Try these tips for writing complex villains.
38. Creating villain motivations: Writing real adversaries
How do you make your villain’s bad deeds more believable? By giving them believable villain motivations.
39. How to write a character unlike you
Sometimes you need to write a character completely unlike you. What are some approaches for getting this unfamiliar character type right?
40. Types of antagonists: Creating riveting opponents
What are common types of antagonists? Read about creating malevolent villains, interfering authorities and other types of antagonist.
41. 5 fantasy character types to enliven your fantasy fiction
What are familiar types we come across often in genres like fantasy? Read common fantasy character types.