How To Write Believable Characters For Your Story

Writer’s Relief
3 min readAug 13, 2020

There are many elements to writing a good story, but one of the most important is having great characters your readers can cheer for, identify with, or even love to hate. The actions, motivations, and choices of your characters will help move the plot forward and keep your audience emotionally invested. But if your characters seem flat, stereotypical, or unbelievable, the story won’t resonate and readers won’t stick around to see what happens next. Here’s how to write believable characters for your story and captivate your readers.

Tips For Writing Believable Characters

Get physical: It’s important to offer physical descriptions of your characters. You don’t need to go deep into detail at first, but give readers a few key points about what the characters look like — which can include what they are wearing — to help differentiate one from the other. When each character has unique physical characteristics, they won’t blend together easily or seem like stock characters. Physical details can also give insight to a character’s history or personality!

You can find inspiration for your characters’ physical characteristics by observing the people around you. Grab a cup of coffee, sit on a park bench, and notice how people are dressed and styled: Are they wearing designer jeans, blue hair, or suspenders and a belt? Is someone limping — and if so, what could be the reason? Watch for body language that you can incorporate into your characters. If you see someone staring at the ground while waiting in a line for coffee, perhaps your meek character does the same thing while waiting to speak to the handsome dragon king.


Have a backstory: The backstory of each character won’t necessarily be written into your story, but it will help improve your writing. Knowing each character’s history, hopes, and wants will allow you to treat them like three-dimensional individuals as you write — rather than cookie-cutter stereotypes. A character who won first place in every spelling bee as a child may be very particular about grammar when writing a letter, even if it’s a ransom note. When you know what motivates a character, you can make them more believable and realistic.

Writer’s Relief

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