When constructing a story, the characters must be well-thought-out and intriguing for the reader. All characters, whether the antagonist, protagonist, or even side characters, are equally essential, and none of them should be empty shells. A character arc can help on this, as they allow you to make sure each of your characters have a story, where they start out in a certain situation, experience tribulations, and evolve (or die to allow other characters to shine). Having characters well-planned or inspired by someone’s characteristics and mannerisms gives characters the necessary development. No two characters should be the same.
I’ve found that being inspired by someone you have met is unique and special, allowing your story and that character’s arc to feel more natural. In my second novel, Taken With a Dark Desire, I took inspiration from an individual and molded that person’s qualities to fit the character in looks and conduct to fit my story, but I felt particularly confident with this character. Knowing someone who inspired the character allowed me to connect with the character more easily and develop them better.
When I hit a snag with my story or characters, I ‘ask’ how they would react to a specific situation and see if they can justify the act in a way that fits the character’s mindset, abilities, weaknesses, and strengths. This prevents your characters from acting in eyebrow-raising inconsistent ways and prevents plot holes related to the character’s actions. I used both these tactics before, especially with characters who weren’t inspired by people in real life.
Asking the question of your character works for all in your story, but it likely won’t be needed for characters inspired by real life. For example, in my first book, I could ask if Claus would have kidnapped a character. Anything to assure my power, he’d answer. That was a strong pillar of his essence, doing everything which serves himself, and he was the same in the following two books, and will continue to be in the future installment, book four.
Dennis Scheel has always had stories running in his head but was unable to tell them until after his accident, which left him mute and paralyzed on his right side. After he worked his way back through recovery, he wanted to try to tell his story once more after an acquaintance told him he was talented at writing poetry. Prior to that, his ex had convinced him not to write for ten years by insisting that he had no aptitude for writing. This time, Dennis tried writing his stories in English for the first time. Finally, he succeeded, and has never stopped writing since. The effort has produced three stellar novels: