Tag Archives: mary sue

How To: Make a realistic character

A lot of us like to write–poems, short stories, novels (at least attempts).  But none of us want to spend the time editing those stories or studying the grammar that will make our stories flow smoother and become and overall better reading experience.

If you’re like me, short stories are your thing. Maybe a chapter or two, or maybe you actually plan on building off of it for a novel. But the most important thing to a story are its characters. They don’t have to be people. Your character can be the barn that’s been falling apart for fifty years. But that is still a character.

But for now let’s focus on characters of the human type (at least humanoid–fantasy characters work, too.) One of the greatest downfalls many authors and online roleplayers is that their characters are Mary Sues–in other words, they’re characters are just too perfect. They’re good at everything, characters of the opposite gender (or sometimes the same) melt through the cracks when they come in the room, and everybody, everybody, wants their skillz.

There’s plenty of ways to flesh out a good characters and avoid Mary Sue-ing. Here’s a list of questions and basic stats that you can use to flesh out your character and then really make them realistic:







Hair Style:


Scars, tattoos, piercings, etc?

Contacts, glasses, or no?

Clothing? What’s their style?

Are their clothes always sexy, showing off their figure? Or would your character be seen in sweats every now and again?

Does your character like to read? Write? Draw?



Does your character speak any languages? If so, list them:

Weakness. It’s important to have these in a character. It’s what gives the story interest. If your character didn’t have any weaknesses, the story would go by without any reader interest/attachment to the character. So, what’s it gonna be? Weakness:

Does your character have many friends? A few? Does everyone love him/her even if they are rude?

Let’s play the favorite game:









Now write a short history on your character:



By looking at this you should have a good idea of who your character is. Want some more help working out the kinks? Post your character sheet in the comments below and I’ll help you fill them out.