Adding Depth To Characters
Fiction,  Writing

How To Add Depth To Your Characters

Creating characters that make readers fall in love takes time and many, many layers of development.

If you’ve taken my free training, Novel Narrator, and used Tarot to create your characters then you have an amazing character but to take that character and add some depth, we need to do a few more things.


What is my motivation?

Yes, this is a terrible actor cliche, but it’s true! Your character needs something to motivate them to do things in your book.  What do they truly want and what do they need by the end of their arc? This is usually two different things too, which can be confusing.  Let’s say your character wants to find the murderer – that is what is motivating them to take on the case.  But what they need is to have closure around their own father’s murder from twenty years ago – that will help them grow and evolve.  


Flaws make for real humans

I know we don’t like to look at our own flaws, be we all have them. From little quirks to big things we would like to change (or maybe we love them and others wish we would change) we have character flaws. These help your fictional characters feel like actual humans, people that your readers can root for and feel connected to. I like to use Tarot cards to help me find these, but you can also look toward friends or family and just tweak it a little.  For example, say your friend is always late, like annoyingly so.  To change it up a bit, maybe your character can always be early.  What would that do to your novel and the people your character has to interact with?


Friends and Enemies

Another layer to add on to these characters we are creating is how they act around other people.  Do they have quirks or coping mechanisms when they are around their parents? Do they have friends that bring out things they would rather hide about themselves? Are they putting on masks around anyone?  We all tend to do this, but it can be tricky to see, but adding this element to our novels takes our characters from blah to holy crap, I totally relate!


Using Tarot

Like I teach in Novel Narrator, I love to use Tarot to help me with all these layers.  If you used 1-2 cards to create your character, get them out and place them on the table.  Then shuffle your deck and add 3 more cards to help you add depth and layers by assigning one card per issue above – you can choose which card goes with which layer.

Choose your card, grab your notebook or open your document and start writing down all the ideas you get.  Remember – look at the background and foreground, use the colors of the cards, and think about what happened right before and after the card’s images.


If you haven’t taken my free character creation training, sign up below!!