Developing Well-rounded Characters

The best parts of my childhood were the unscheduled hours. The hours not spent at dance class or girl guides. The hours rich in doing what seemingly looked like nothing but was everything. Cloud watching or sitting by a creek, watching the wind in the trees or absently playing in the yard; This allowed my imagination to develop. These rich empty spaces of childhood, I credit to my rise as a storyteller. Imagination cannot be assumed. It must be encouraged, nurtured and valued.

BEFORE you begin writing your new story, it’s important to take a little time to create fresh new characters that are all your own. Sometimes using another authors ideas or established formula for a character such as a wizard or elven king will only brand you as uninventive or plain boring to any potential readers or publishers.

The trick is to custom build your character’s to suit your unique story or world. Think of yourself as the Master of Creation – this is your concept and only your imagine-born characters can live within it.


Your character begins their journey as one type of person and gradually transforms into a different more competent character as a response to the changing developments within the plot.

A Character Arc is the transformation of the inner journey of a character over the course of your story.


  1.  What does my protagonist need to accomplish?
  2. What drives him or her? What is their motivation?
  3. What is the sweet cheese at the end, in other words, what will they gain from achieving this objective?

Remember the journey makes the ending satisfying.

Think outside the box, for example, every character has a past. What happened to your protagonist?

Create deeper layers to your character by taking control of the chaos, by advancing the plot to develop their personality. Does your character have flaws?

A flaw is an imperfection which is often concealed.

  1. Impatience
  2. Stubbornness
  3. Arrogance
  4. Inability to hear without seeing the other person’s lips move
  5. A limp
  6. Vanity


BY understanding your characters’ objectives, motivations, weaknesses, and strengths you can ascertain how they will respond to situations and react to other characters around them. Relationships are born!


The process of building your character from the ground up, injecting personality, quirks, style, and culture takes time and it’s important to take notes relating to each character to use as a quick go-to reference.

Now get to creating!


Melissa Coleman View All →

I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories and articles I feel are worth writing about.

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