How to develop Believable, Three Dimensional Characters

Character Development.

That one word can make or break your writing. Powerful, believable characters can carry a story and excite readers. Unfortunately, bland, confusing, or contradictory characters can destroy your story entirely. Just one quick search on Google will give you plenty of character questionnaires or forms to fill out, all promising to help you discover your character. Unfortunately, no matter how well you know your character's eye or hair color, you still need to ask yourself the difficult questions: how does your character react in a crisis? What motivates them most? And what lengths will they go to in order to succeed?

The hardest part, though, isn't answering those questions: it's making sure that every decision, action, and motivation aligns with who your character is.

To create believable characters, try using a personality test.


Just like real life, characters are predictable. Good characters-the kinds that make strong stories' have realistic motivations, goals, and behaviors.

Luckily, psychologists have been able to map certain personalities. These personalities often work for real people, and they will work for your characters too.

My favorite personality test is the Myers-Briggs test. This test describes 16 different personalities. The test is free, and offers an in-depth description of each personality.

So what characters are you working on? Take the test, and answer the questions the way you think your character would. Figure out more about them, and add the small quirks you find into your writing. All of these small details will help you create a believable, three-dimensional character that your readers will fall in love with.


Keep on Writing!

Ashley Hayes

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