Questions to Ask : Creating Strong Characters

To avoid creating flat characters (especially female ones) ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is she authentic? She has to be a true representation of herself as a fully realized character. She may go through trials and tribulations, but she must not be flat or a projection of the need of another character and function as a plot device.
  2. Is she valuable? What they contribute to the storyline adds value. Period. If you take them out of the plot, it decreases the worth of your story significantly. Or entirely.
  3. Does she help drive the plot? Every character in a story must serve the plot somehow. If they just appear as window dressing, they won’t feel real to your readers. And they won’t hold interest.
  4. Is she easily replaceable? If she is, then you haven’t created a strong character. Character strength isn’t about heroics. It’s about the strength they add as a realized character to your overall story.
  5. Does she reinforce a stereotype? This can be tricky. What can happen is that a writer may create a character of the exact opposite of traits of a perceived stereotype and may inadvertently create a new stereotype in the process. If you feel you may have reinforced a stereotype, ask if she follows question number 1 and 3.

 

 

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