My characters come from everywhere. I people watch. I might see someone that intrigues me and invent an entire life for them. Miss Emily Meeks in my first novel Secrets was based on a lady I saw in a restaurant one morning. Jake Robins in Out of the Flames was loosely based on my step-grandson.
Characters need flaws. They are not perfect. They have to be human. They need to be confused and impulsive like real people. They have to stay in character and not do things that the character would not do. You want your readers to feel they know the characters like they know their friends.
There are a lot of things required, but I think the most important aspect is a believable motive for the character's actions. A main character can't be heroic just because he's your main character. A villain can't be evil simply because he's the villain. They both must have believable reasons driving their storylines.
A good example would be the whole "Light side vs dark side" aspect of Star Wars. Now, while I am a fan of the series, I do have small problems with it. The Sith believed that anger, hatred, and treachery was the "right" philosophy to have. That doesn't make any sense to me. A great villain has to honestly believe that he is the GOOD guy.
The character has to be someone that the reader aspires to, but who is not so far off from the way that the reader sees themself that the character is not believable. Different readers attach to different characters and there is really no way to make all characters believable to all readers.
I think it's healthy to base a character on real people - or take something that has happened to somebody and base a character around that - because you never truly know anybody fully, including yourself.
If your character is based in reality and has realistic traits and reactions to the world, then you're on your way.
Dick King Smith wrote a book about an island full of cats, and they were as believable as some of the human characters I've read in some books!
Simply that it is, and would be believable to the average individual. If you are above average, or below average your perception of the character is what gives them personality.
If the rest of the book is believable and then the character is 'superhuman', the character gets flushed. I've just lost you. You probably don't believe a thing I've said after that. And I shouldn't even be writing, I should find another career.
I'm not going to try and sucker a book, or an article past a reader. The thing is either truth, or a accurate depiction of truth or I don't write it. I don't assume you will make the same steps of logic that I may. If it requires a leap then I tell the reader to consider . . .
I'm sharing a story with my readers. I'm not telling them a tall-tale.
For my nonfiction book I hadnít to create characters. For my short stories I try to create characters who are convincing and who are acting plausible; they need to be realistic. And I hope the reader is able to identify with them on some level.
You need to know your characters, each of their personalities. As for creating mine, well if you visit my blog you'll understand a little more www.celizabeth.ca I don't create my characters they come to me and tell me what to write.
In order for a character to be believable, sometimes you have to be outrageous, then have some kind of commonality. Even a tormented killer can find understanding among readers.
I believe characters are only believable when they follow the rules of human behavioral responses and when someone can sympathize or identify with the character. It is said that there is nothing new under the son. Nothing is truer than a character in the story, you can change sets, wardrobe or even dimensions, and we have yet to accomplish AI. Until that day, every character is either a comparison or a composite of people you know or have met.
The musn't be too perfect. Nobody is perfect so if your characters are, you can forget that people like them. Everyone has a few mistakes, so your character should have, too. I create my characters by studying other characters of other authors, TV-Shows, movies or celebrities. Then I change their names and change their character and abilities and I've got my own figure.
A character must have a past, must have motivation, and must have flaws. I love to people watch and so my characters are often an amalgam of people I know or see. I like morally ambiguous people, meaning a hero can be heroic, but his methods may be suspect. I also spend a lot of time working on the inner relationships between the main characters and the peripheral ones. I like to explore interactions between people, both positive and negative. Most of all, a character must seem like he or she is alive, like someone you've met before.
You should understand your character, his/her logic and motives. Even if your character is crazy, of pure evil, or stupid or whatever that doesn't apply to you. Btw, it's helpful in real life - you become more tolerant to other people and better understand their point.
Craig Clevenger put this best, in a single word: contrast. A character with seemingly opposing traits (a fat guy who owns an organic garden, for example) is interesting because of the inherent conflict presented. When the characterís internal conflict supports the plotís various points of conflict, then youíve got the basis for a great story. Above all though, a character must be relatable. The easiest way is to tap into basic human emotions and needsólove, hunger, pain, etc. The more difficult, though usually more powerful way, is to explore those human traits in a relatable context. Thatís why so many 9-11 novels succeed. Thatís why Holocaust books continue to excite readers.
Real life. I lived an eventful life.
A character needs to have flaws just like real people do. Perfect characters are boring characters. My characters most of the time just pop into my head fully or mostly formed.