When it comes to writing, there are a lot of opinions out there. Not only does every writer have their own pet theories on the craft, but there is an entire cottage industry that produces books, workshops, even full-blown conventions. All designed, not to make you a better writer, but separate you from your money.
But the fact remains you don’t have to spend tons of money to become a better writer. You just have to write. That plain, simple truth might not sell books or tickets, but it does produce quality writers.
When it comes to storytelling, there are plenty of opinions on what makes a great book. These days, it’s all about “high concept” plots. Best-selling books are much like big-budget Hollywood movies. They go all-in with the intense action, heavy special effects, and sweeping emotions.
But, in my opinion, they leave you feeling empty. Plot-driven books are real page-turners, but they’re not the kind of thing people will be reading years to come. They’re certainly not the kind of books that stick with you. Nor are they the ones that children will be reading in school or writers look to for inspiration and guidance.
What makes a book timeless? Characters. Strong, believable characters that feel like real people. We root for heroes because we relate to them. Plot-driven books have cookie-cutter characters, people that act a certain way because the plot demands it. They never feel all that real, and they’re certainly not memorable.
But how to do you write strong, believable characters that will stick with a reader? Here are 5 ways to write real-feeling characters.