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Interesting Lead Characters

What makes and interesting lead character?

Character Pin

What Makes Up A Great Interesting Lead Character?

It’s Complicated

There is so much that goes into making¬† a great interesting lead character, deciding where to start isn’t easy. It’s complicated will describe the character. Like everyday people, and interesting lead character is multi-layered like all humans. They will have flaws, feelings, a past, fears, dislike, likes, etc. They are humans we authors have put together to become a unique person.

When I say it’s complicated, it like all people. Everyone is different and unique. Fictional characters should be too. You can look at all your characters in any one book, and if the author has done their work well, you’ll see a whole slew of different people which inhabit the story.

Character Characteristics

The first thing you need to look at is how well does this made up person come across as real. Are then someone a reader will relate to? Will the reader like this person? Is the character believable? What a writer doesn’t want to do is to make a person who is all good or all bad. We all have our good and bad points. Even the most evil person you can think of has some good in them.

This explains why the hero has his issues. He can be afraid of heights, can’t talk to strangers, is afraid of germs, or is afraid of spiders or snakes. That is part of what makes him real. He has fears you can see.

Another thing all good characters have is their connection to others. They have friends, enemies, acquaintances, and a family (be they good or bad). If they never connect to anyone, how interesting can that character be?  Okay, so talking to a soccer ball can count if you name the soccer ball.

Each character will have various characteristics which will identify them as unique. Think of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Each one different yet you can relate to both of them. Some of my favorite characters were in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. They are a fun group to get to know from the elves, to dwarfs, hobbits, human, orc, Gollum and multiple other you meet along the journey. A great example of characters with various characteristics.


Each character is complex. The lead characters will be the most complex. Some of the ancillary characters are like walk on actors, you see them but only for a few minutes, so they are stereotypical in what role they are playing. A waitress you recognize from her uniform, and the few words she may say, but that is all you know about her since that is the only time you see her.

Meanwhile, your lead characters get to have all the fun…well you can include a sidekick or friends or henchmen. These are the ones you’ll see through out a book or series. As the author peels back the layers, you see more and more of the true character. This is where the readers get into the person and want to see more of them.

What Makes an Interesting Character

That is what the pin above is all about. It lists 25 characteristics those characters you love will have. It’s what makes lead characters difficult to write. They have to be complex, like you and me. They need to be human. Like all humans, they aren’t perfect.

Keep this list handy when you read. You’ll see that all of these traits are in each good lead character and may of the minor characters. It’s what makes them memorable.

Good reading.

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