One of the most key things in forming your novel is character creation. You want a character that draws people in, makes them feel like they are understood and doesn’t seem too ‘Mary-Sue’. It took years, but after a while, I began to understand how to do it. Here’s how.

1. Make them have real blood

I have read corny novels where the main character is absolutely perfect. She never gets angry, never hates anyone and never, ever (wait for it) got hurt in a battle. She could go through an entire battle and not. Get. Hurt. What even is this? A Virtual Reality? No, you’re supposed to be writing in real life. So what are you doing making them invisible? Make them get hurt, make them break, tear them down so that, in the end, they are completely and utterly human.

2. They’re not Vogue-cover perfect

I hate it when they’re perfect. Perfect body, perfect hair, perfect everything. I’ve read novels like that and, in the end, instead of relating to them, I envied them. I couldn’t ever look perfect like they do, and it made me despise the book. So, instead of making them Vogue-cover worthy, make them have a scar on their face, scar marks on their arms from past cuttings, a birthmark they cover up because they are ashamed of it. In my recent dystopian novel, I made my character relatable because I didn’t make her perfect. We live in a real world. Remember that. Perfect isn’t an option.

3. They struggle with an adamant issue

Each and every one of us struggles with some issue. Whether it be pride, anger, hate, or something even worse. Why? Because we’re human. And your characters are too. So make them act like it. I always make my characters have fears, issues, and hopes. Does your MC struggle with trust? Is she irritable? Irrational? Negative? Pick on and add it in. You’ll find that characters are easier to relate to -and to write- when you make them have problems.

4. Give them human emotions

Is your main character struggling with the death of her dad? Don’t make her strong. Make her break down into tears. Make her angry. Is your character searching for a treasure? Make her feel defeat, anger, and isolation. Is your character in a hospital, fighting against cancer? Make her scared, angry, and hurt. If you ever struggle with figuring out what to make them feel, close your eyes and breathe in. Then, open up a different page on your computer, put yourself in their shoes, and type what you would feel. The words that will pour onto the page will be completely, and utterly, human.

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