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Fascinating characters are created when they seem real to the reader.

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Fascinating characters have to seem real.

To make your characters fascinating they need to have:

  • Vulnerabilities
  • Flaws
  • Self-awareness and blind spots
  • A personal history


Audio From Kim Wilkins – Fascinating Characters


Listen or download the audio below for this week’s lesson explaining what makes characters fascinating and how to get to know your characters.

Don’t forget to download the audio notes below too (available in PDF format) before you listen to this week’s lesson so you can take notes.



PDF (right click and ‘Save As’): Audio Notes – Lesson 6 – Facinating Characters


To make your characters fascinating, they need to have:


  • e.g. Superman.
  • What is your characters’ metaphorical kryptonite?


  • What makes your character fallible?

Self-awareness and blind spots.

  • What is your character aware of and unaware of?

A personal history.

  • Give your characters the sense that they have a life before the start of the book.


How do you get to know your characters?

Abstract lists

  • Character traits, hair colour, etc
  • You have to give your characters a relationship to their characteristics. E.g. if they are a Catholic, how do they think and feel about being a Catholic?

Character interviews.

  • Write questions and answer them in the first person of your character.

Writing about your characters – writing your story.

  • Spend time with your characters.


You need to have the courage to write your first draft and fix it later.


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red avatar 5EXERCISE:  Discussing Stereotypes

Fascinating characters must have dramatic possibility. Creating fascinating characters involves making them seem real to the reader.

Here is a list of a few recognizable stereotypes in fiction:

  • The chisel-jawed ex-soldier who is now a Private Investigator (PI)
  • The hooker with a heart of gold.
  • The beautiful ingénue on a journey from innocence to experience.
  • The farm boy who doesn’t know he’s the prophesied saviour.
  • The uptight career woman who didn’t have time for children.



  1. Pick the Stereotype that interests you the most. 
  2. Brainstorm  how you could turn this stereotypical character into a more believable one. What could you change? What could you add?
  3. Summarise your discussion and post the results to the Stereotype Forum and then discuss the summaries of your fellow participants.

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red avatar 5EXERCISE:  Fears & Desires

Answer these two questions about your main character.Lesson 6 YON

  1. What is your character’s biggest fear?
  2. What is your character’s greatest desires?
  3. Post your answers to these questions onto the Fears & Desires Forum and read the answers others have put up there.


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