Writer: Creating Fictional Characters Who Are More Interesting Than You. A Survival Guide.

This can be a tough situation for any writer.

There are several stages connected with realising your character is more interesting than you – the writer.

  1. The Character Creation Stage. You have exceeded your literary expectations and created an amazing new character. She’s beautiful, sassy, funny, intelligent, a fashion trend setter, possesses some unusual magical powers, has a funky name and some lovable flaws. When she enters a scene all your other characters sit up and stare at her. You lean back in your chair and marvel at your literary abilities.
  2. The Fangirl Stage. You seek some feedback on your story and send your draft out for review or stick it on a writing platform. After a few weeks you start to get some responses. OMG – your reviewers love your main character!  Actually they like this character so much they have started fangirling. They are in awe of her special powers, her sense of humour and her rebellious fashion sense. You start to feel uncomfortable as you read this outpouring of fan girl love for your character. As you continue to read you start to feel a little irritated and say things like “can everyone calm down she’s FICTIONAL!” and “can’t anyone see that I based her on me?”
  3. The Denial Stage. This is where you hear a little voice inside you say “that character is more interesting than you!”  Gasp! It can’t be true! You have NOT created a character who is more interesting than you. In your head you start to compare yourself to your main character. This is what you come up with. After a good hair and beauty session with a top makeover professional, some good lighting, a forgiving photo filter and some serious photo editing you could rival her natural beauty.  You practically invented the term ‘sassy’ (..some years ago). With some private tuition you could rival her in terms of intelligence and you are always setting new fashion trends with your love of casual / lazy day clothes. If your parents had been a bit more imaginative at your birth you would have an interesting name, you perform many magical tricks whilst cleaning the house, you are riddled with flaws and people notice you when you enter a room…(um…yes they do). There is no doubt in your mind that you are interesting – you are a writer for goodness sake! Ok so you don’t get out much, you spend a lot of your time in a darkened room talking to yourself – but that’s low level detail. You are still way more interesting than your character!
  4. The Character Irritation Stage. The realisation that you are living in your character’s shadow starts to irritate you. This takes the form of an eye roll or two when you sit down to write or you start moaning about her to your writer friends…“my main character is really doing my head in…she thinks she’s something special!”  Things might even take a turn for the worse when you start to dampen down her qualities in your story. You will say stuff like “see how you like this average haircut!” and “stop stealing my limelight!”
  5. The Realisation Stage. It doesn’t take long for you to come to your literary senses. After a frantic search of Google, some long-winded emails to writer friends and a heart to heart with an unsympathetic loved one, you realise that characters need to have that stand out quality.

Here are some tips on how to handle this challenging scenario:

  1. Readers want characters who are bold, memorable and compelling. So yes – you need to move your ego aside and make your characters way more interesting than you.
  2. As the writer you have to accept you are simply the host so….step aside.
  3. Feel proud of yourself for creating an interesting fictional person.


Have a great day!


Posted by

Lucy Mitchell lives in South Wales with her husband, her two teenage daughters, a giant labrador and a gang of unruly cats. Lucy is the author of the award winning blog, BlondeWriteMore and was a Featured Romance Author on Wattpad. When she’s not working or writing, Lucy can be found listening to audiobooks in a muddy field with her dog or sat outside her local pub in the sunshine enjoying a glass of wine. Her debut novel Instructions Falling In Love Again is OUT now and already pulling in some fabulous reviews ❤️

44 thoughts on “Writer: Creating Fictional Characters Who Are More Interesting Than You. A Survival Guide.

    1. I love the phrase ‘when things get out of hand!’ – it’s a regular phrase in my writing life. I LOVE characters who take revenge on their writer for all the suffering they are put through. My current main character Pippa can keep quiet as I am letting her date lots of attractive men – sigh!

  1. My main character is only 12 and she is way more interesting than me. She is absolutely more interesting than me at 12!! I´m OK with that. (but sometimes I wish I had been that interesting!)

      1. High Five. W.e.l.l., I don’t want to mess up. Might you have a spare muse hanging around. I do get tired of those pretty boys. Sometimes they don’t leave me room to breathe. 😀 😛

      2. Oh my goodness – ME TOO!!! My current one ‘Mikey’ – he’s a bit of a cad and he is trying to change his bad ways – sigh!! I am so glad I have found my unofficial mentor!

  2. My central character is a ‘Sniper for Hire’ she’s deadly in more ways than one. It worries me more than a little that many friends have said she sounds just like me, (In conversation) eeeek. Sigh. I do love writing about ‘bad girls.’ As for the more interesting than me question … watching the grass grow is more interesting than me.

  3. I got it worse than that. At least your characters are fictional. My dog writes a monthly column for a blogger under the nom de plume Danny the Dog. He’s been doing it for about three years and he has thousand of fans. Some have even flown in to meet him. Four from Germany, one from Canada, and a couple from the good old U S of A. They email me and ask if they can meet Danny. Not a word about wanting to see moi. And what really bugs me is that his narratives are all about what an idiot I am. I’d trade places with you any day.
    Here’s one of his stupid stories: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2016/10/25/reserved-for-danny-7/
    He’s lucky I still feed him after writiing stuff like that about me.

  4. I laughed out loud when you said there were times that you all didn’t speak. That must be rough; when it comes to a character, you kind of make them into a magnified version of you. You might be a little bit of a badass, but you make her into a SUPER badass chick! When people love that about her, it does piss you off! You’re her, after all! I get this post because I’ve done that a time or two.

  5. I love this post! I think that we as writers can sometimes create an alter-ego character of sorts that embodies everything we wish we could one day be. Sometimes this blurs the lines and makes it easy to forget that we write characters with the purpose of them having the desired effect on readers, rather than 100% true to life products of reality.
    The beautiful thing about reality is that we go through real experiences that shape us into the all that we have become – a three dimensional human in a world that could never truly fit on pages. Life is a miracle and written characters can reflect, but never truly breathe, that breath.
    I love that you explore all the feelings that go along with really pouring your all into your writing. After all, the end-game for writers is to write a story with characters that really resonate with readers. And to resonate they must be real.
    Again, wonderful post!

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