Monday, 27 May 2013

Showing A Character's True Nature

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him." James D. Miles

Image courtesy of Dave Robinette /
This is a great quote to bear in mind when you are trying to show the the true nature of one of your characters, whether it's your protagonist selflessly helping other's, or your antagonist killing someone he no longer has need of.

That being said, be careful not to make it cliched. How about switching it around? No-one is truly bad all the way through, or good and selfless all the time. Give your characters more depth by having you antagonist save a child or help the homeless. Maybe your protagonist bumped into someone and knocked coffee all over them but didn't even stop to say sorry, that someone could have been the antagonist and is the spark that sets him on a path of revenge. Ok, a revenge story based on a spilt coffee may be stretching credibility a little but you get what I mean; everyone has their flaws and their saving graces, it's your job to find them in your characters and then exploit them.

Now over to you - how do you show the different facets of your characters personalities? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear from you.


  1. You are right. Showing more than one aspect of a person gives them depth.
    Sometimes I use a back story to show what made the individual who he is. The kind person before vs. the wretched person after.

    1. Thanks Nana. Backstory is really important for getting under the skin of a character and finding out what makes them tick.