Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You’re So Deep

How do you add depth to your characters? We all hear the kiss of death for a lot of agents are flat, one dimensional characters. They must be deep, relatable, and appeal to the majority of our audience.

If your main character has super powers, it might be hard for the average person to relate so my advice would be to add a flaw. In fact, if you want your characters to be realistic then they ALL need a flaw. It doesn’t have to be major…they don’t need to be serial killers (although it totally works for the series ‘Dexter’). Maybe they never clean their room or they dig in the laundry basket for something that doesn’t smell too badly to wear, or something traumatic has happened to them and you drop hints of their tortured past. Whatever you decide, make us like them despite it and maybe even because of it.

Remember to show don’t tell, because adding depth is not telling someone what makes a person tick, it’s showing them. Inner dialogue, pattern of speech, mannerisms, and how they react in situations are all a part of this. Creating a character outline does help to get to know your character better and this in turn helps impart that in your story.

In researching this topic I came across a comment which said if you want to add depth to your characters then make them either crippled or a lesbian.

I’ll leave that up to you.

Does anyone have advice to add? I am all ears.


  1. Man, I wish I knew. I try to add in some bad with the good, some honorable behavior with some selfish stuff. But I've had some people read my pages and not like my character very much because of a couple of choices she makes in the first chapter. It's part of the story set-up, though, so I don't know what to do about that other than try and show the reasons for her doing what she does more clearly.

    Sigh. I like her just fine.

  2. I think you nailed it. It's about the little things, those little quirks that add a dose of realism. I don't have any lesbians or cripples in my story but I do have a villain who uses hand sanitizer religiously.

  3. I think it's all about the internal struggles that a character has that manifests into things that others witness. Afraid of being alone, being possessive or needy etc. These are definite in-depth things because it leads back to a bigger issue. Something that the character has may be been struggling with for a long time.


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.