One of the hardest parts of fiction writing is creating interesting and sympathetic characters.
All fiction writers incorporate their own personalities and those we are familiar with into our fictional works. But the hardest part of this is making these creations generally acceptable.
One of the first things to do is to make your main characters believable. Have a FIRM real person in mind when writing the reactions and dialogue of your character. Check each thing against that image in your head of the REAL person.
If anything doesn’t fit, either switch the real person you are comparing the fictional person too, or change their reaction or words. Never leave something that seems odd or unrealistic even if it moves the plot forward.
The character MUST have a reason for their actions or they will seem contrived.
Create a list of motivations for all main characters:
What has happened to them in the past?
What motivates them in the present?
What are they trying to create in their future?
Or to expand:
What defined them?
What harmed them?
What motivated them?
What do they think influences them now?
What are their goals?
Why do they want the things they do?
Every single character that guides your plot should have these questions on a piece of paper before your write them. Your protagonist and antagonist MUST have those answers.
ALSO in your plot answer these questions:
Who fights for an against the conclusion of your plot?
Why do they fight for or against the plot?
Or in more clear terms….WHAT do they have to gain or lose?
ALWAYS! Have these things in your story, and answer 99% of the questions raised for your readers.
Unless you are writing a mystery MOST people should know what the main characters want and why by chapter 3…
In mysteries leave a single who don-nit…ONE not a dozen, that will remain til the end.
If you have a hidden plot twist make sure it does not influence the main character’s actions or emotions….they must NOT know this mystery until it is revealed to the reader.
Anything they know, the reader must know, or their actions become mysterious…not a good thing.
People need to understand WHY the characters act as they do from page one.
Otherwise readers will lose your plot…NEVER a good thing…