Create interesting characters

People are complex. They have strengths and weaknesses, good parts and bad parts, and they don’t always act in ways that are expected. While you’re writing your story, think of something different or unusual or unexpected about your character.

Agatha Christie went against the common idea of a detective. Instead of the intensely active Sherlock Holmes who recognized the significance of minute examinations, she created Miss Marple, an elderly lady who solved crimes through interpreting common clues overlooked by everyone else. Christie also created Hercule Poirot, a Belgian refugee who focused as much attention on his appearance as he did in solving mysteries. Louis L’Amour created deeper knowledge and cunning in his characters than we’d ever suspect from farmers or solitary cowboys. Romance writers always make their men have hidden pasts and dark secrets.

Give all of your characters interesting qualities, and if you can create something about them that goes against expectations, your stories will be more interesting. You don’t have to spend a huge amount of time on the characteristic or characteristics, but rounding them out makes the reader relate to them better than a bland person with nothing distinctive.