Adding Emotional Depth to Your Characters

Creating Deep Characters | Adding Emotional Depth | In-Depth Characters

Can you guys believe it’s almost March? I swear, yesterday was New Year’s Eve.  


I’ve talked about creating characters with depth before but today I wanted to talk a bit about the number one thing that would get your readers falling in love with your characters like nothing else: emotional depth.

It’s hard to relate to a character that doesn’t resonate with you. By adding emotional depth, you offer up the opportunity for your readers to, in a way, build a relationship with your characters.

So today we’ll be discussing five musts you should use to add emotional depth to any of your characters. Let’s get started!


Your character must fail

We all hate perfect characters right? They’re entirely unrelatable, untouchable, and annoying to boot. The easiest way to fix this problem and add emotional depth in a character? Have them fail at something important to them. Not only does this give you a chance to show how they behave when they make a mistake, but it allows you create the start of a character arc that involves development and growth for them.


Your character must succeed

And on the contrary side, no one really liked characters who are incompetent. While a klutzy, accident prone character can add a good bit of humor to your story, don’t rely on one-dimensional characters to add every piece of laughter for your reader. Your characters should have something they succeed at, something important to them. Similarly to having your character fail, you’ll give them a chance at a complete and interesting character arc full of development and growth.


Your character must hurt someone

Again, no one is exempt from hurting people…it’s a matter of being human. What matters, is how your character responds to hurting someone. Do they want to fix it? Do they ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen? This will clue the reader in, making your character’s moral compass crystal clear.


Your character must be hurt by someone

And again, the contrary side of the experience. How your character deals with pain, betrayal, or misplaced trust is crucial to not only understanding your character but allowing your readers to empathize with your character, even if they don’t like the character.


Your character must learn something new about themselves

Life is nothing if not one big growth-fest. Whether they pick up a new hobby, they understand something about their past in a new light, or they have a self-reflective experience, this is vital again to your character’s growth, but also to your reader’s ability to empathize with your character.


If you’ve caught on yet, good characters evoke empathy with your readers. Empathy is what will get your readers raving about your characters, even your villains. Nail these traits to add emotional depth to your characters, and you’ll reach your readers even more.



Alexis Truitt


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