Character: Mental Qualities

There are SO many elements to a story, but I think character is the most important. Do we really expect a reader to keep reading our story if they can’t connect with the character? There are so many elements to a character beyond the name, age, education, job, goal in life.

To make character’s more three-dimensional we have to really break down what it is that makes everyone real. Are they the boldest person you’d ever meet until the subject of sex comes up? Are they the opposite, prudish until behind closed doors? This is why it’s so easy to base a lot of our characters on our friends and family members (I know I have and I’m in no way ashamed 🙂 ) – we know what they do, how they do it, and we don’t need to put a label on it.

There are so many elements and they can be either really fun or really challenging to write. Even just take attributes that seem like your character and explain to yourself why. My advice for this is not to focus on it directly, add it to your character’s way of thinking/behaving/reactions but this example is a no no “She is apt” “He is obtuse” – acknowledging it directly also takes some of the readers creativeness away.

I recently decided to add another facet to a character’s personality: volatile. I thought it described her unpredictability, but I was out to lunch with my writer friend, Ermisenda, and she explained to me all the different ways someone can be volatile and it’s inspired me to keep writing! 😀 Making your character more 3D will inspire you as well –  I guarantee it!
I’ve started this off with ‘Mental Qualities’ because everyone has them, and everyone needs them! But unfortunately you don’t see mental qualities as often, and usually when I do, they’re in the villans. Here are some to get you thinking.







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