How to Make Your Characters Real 101

by | 17 August 2018 | Writing | 26 comments

Disclaimer: this is a satirical post meant to amuse, not to instruct. You have been warned. 😉

Having realistic characters is a huge step toward having a great book. The readers will have someone to relate to and to cheer for.

Some characters take a lot of time to craft into realistic people, others simply walk into the story without so much as a ‘please.’ But no matter how they turn up, they still need to be genius characters.

Naturally, I am here to save you any trouble. Before you start making characters, there’s four very important things we need to cover first.


1: Spend a Very Long Time looking for their face

Either you have to scroll through pinterest for three hours, or just never actually work out what the character looks like. There’s no in between.

Also, make sure you include lengthy and thorough descriptions of every single character and include them in every single scene that they appear in. Readers are forgetful. They need constant reminders of what your characters look like.


2: Backstory is a waste of time

The readers don’t need to know who the character is, so don’t spend any time trying to work out what their normal life is like. It’s completely overrated.

Imagine how much better Star Wars would’ve been if we didn’t know any background for any of the characters.

Luke Skywalker: You’re a creepy dude.
Darth Vader: And you’re kid who I absolutely have neeever seen before.
Luke: NOOOOO. *jumps down a hole*

It’s flawless.


3: Base them off your best friend’s third cousin’s uncle twice removed

People in real life are real, so the best way to have a real character is to copy an actual human being and dump them into your story.

Bonus points if you pick the most boring person you know.


4: Name them Mary Sue or George Smith

These are the only legitimate name choices.

Throw out that Tony Stark. He should’ve been named George Smith. Steve Rogers? Also George Smith.

Would this be confusing? Yes. Does that make any difference? No.

Name all your guys George Smith. You know you want to.


What more can I say? Soon enough, your Mary will be an amazing Sue and your George will be a Smith and no one will be able to tell the difference. 😛


What’s your best advice for crafting realistic characters? Have you ever had a character just walk onto the page without asking? What’s the most boring name you’ve ever given a character? Let’s chat in the comments!

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Chelsea R.H.

    I named a character Betsy Smith once, does that count?
    And what have I been doing my whole life? Actually creating characters, when I should just be dumping my family members on to the pages, oh my.
    Thank you for enlightening me.
    *bows* *exits*

    • Jane Maree

      Oh good job, Chelsea! I applaud you. Betsy Smith is ALMOST good enough. But not quite. 😛

      I’m honoured to be able to enlighten you to this genius method. *also bows*

  2. J.A.Penrose

    I AM TOTALLY GONNA DO THIS. Kinda. Some of it. I will write a George Smith, based off a highly boring person, give him no backstory, and over describe him. That will be hilarious. xD
    Always love the 101 posts!

    • Jane Maree

      Mwahaha, excellent. 😛 It’ll be the most amazing character you’ve ever made, trust me. XD

      Thank you!

  3. Lila Kims


    I’M DYING. 😂😂😂

    • Jane Maree

      Haha, I’m glad you found it funny! 😛

  4. Evelyn Kelly

    Now I really do want to name all my guy characters “George Smith!” XD

    • Jane Maree

      Do it, do it!
      (Actually don’t do it, please. XD)

  5. Gray Marie @ Writing is Life

    I feel like some authors take this advice literally. XD

    Great post as always, Jane! I don’t comment on here enough, my apologies. <3

    • Jane Maree

      Same. XD As I was writing it I kept having mental panic moments of “What if someone takes this seriously??” 😯

      Thanks, Gray! Haha that’s okay, I’m the same. 😉

  6. GJE


    • Jane Maree

      I hope you’ll be applying these tips… 😛

  7. Samual Kowal

    Also, don’t forget making them so powerful that nothing in the story can bother them, no matter what comes their way. I suppose that goes along with “Mary Sue”

    • Jane Maree

      Ah yes, how could I forget that one? That’s a crucial element of being a good character. 😉

  8. Jenna

    I sat myself down to read an educational post on writing characters…and I got this. What a nice surprise! 😀😀😀

    • Jane Maree

      Yep sorry. There is absolutely no good advice in this post. XD

      Glad you enjoyed it anyway! 😛

  9. Sarah

    OMW This is great xD

    #2 definitely is my favourite methinks ;D

    • Jane Maree

      Yay, I’m glad you think so. 😀

      Who even cares about backstory anyway, pfft. xP

  10. MiddleEarthMusician

    George Smith…XD That was great. And yes, backstory is totally a waste of time. *nods seriously* XD

    • Jane Maree

      Don’t laugh. George Smith is the best name ever. 😛

  11. Faith Gartzke

    For a moment there I thought this was a serious post, and I was like, “What…??” …But then I read the small print at the top. XD

    (I actually have a character named George in a story I’m currently working on… better change his last name to Smith… XP)

    Hilarious post, Jane! 😀

    • Jane Maree

      Haha, oh noooo. XD That’s seriously so funny. 😛

      (Quick! Name change!!)

      Thank you. 😀

  12. Molly

    LOL, this is hilarious!!!

    • Jane Maree

      Thanks! 🤣

      If it was meant to be a serious post we’d all have to start being concerned for the quality of my writing…

      • Molly

        Lol, yep!
        But I’ve read some of your work, there’s no doubting the quality. 😉

        • Jane Maree

          Aww, you’re so sweet. Thank you. 😄

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