Common Writer Mistakes #7

#7 — Not developing characters

I’m sure we’ve all come across a character in a book who we didn’t feel anything toward much. We weren’t worried for the character’s well-being.

Which doesn’t help us want to continue reading.

It can take many drafts to get into a character’s head and develop them on the page. Some characters are harder to write than others.

I’ve struggled with this before. I would have a character, and everything’s there, but it’s bland. There’s no emotion to pull the readers in.

However, I’ve found that getting inside your character’s head helps the most with this.

Sit down and interview them. What are their quirks? Their sense of humor? What kind of sandwich do they like? What colors do they like to wear? Are they a social person? Do they like grapes? What’s peculiar about them? What stands out?

Insert at least a couple of those details whenever your character is in a scene. If the character is a jokester, make them tell a sarcastic comment every once in a while. If they’re peculiar about food, have them nitpick what’s on the table.

Add some flavor of what people usually do too. Pause at random. Restart sentences. Have jokes that fail. Take back what they said seconds afterward. Those little moments can help bring out your character and make them more relatable.

It’s important to develop your characters on the page if they feel weak. Cause if you’re not super excited about your characters, who will be?

I hope this helps!


#1 — Using multiple adjectives
#2 — Vagueness for tension
#3 — Repeating words for emphasis
#4 — Common misused words
#5 — Misusing hyphens

#6 — Unnecessary details
#8 — The words feel and felt
This was originally posted on my writing blog.

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