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6

You seem to reduce inner conflict to "characters being pulled in two opposite directions". That is, a person who wants two different things, is "conflicted". We can imagine a person wanting both to lose weight and to eat a creamy cake to be conflicted in that manner. This is of course boring and not worth a novel. We can also imagine stronger, more tortuous ...


4

Relateable Characters My favorite childhood character growing up was Bilbo Baggins. He was a single-living half-sized creature with a magical ring who was cowardly but clever, and had a great reluctance to try to go on any sort of adventure. I'm nothing like Bilbo Baggins, yet I can relate to dreams of adventure and wanting to be a quick-witted hero. ...


4

"Glennkill" is written from a sheep's point of view. Which is one of its main points of attraction. I remember a story from the perspective of a cup (Böll maybe?). "The Remarkable Rocket" from Wilde's "The Happy Prince and Other Stories" has fireworks as protagonists. Of course, the Happy Prince himself is a statue. Many fairy tales have things as ...


4

(I thought @what gave a great answer, which I upvoted, but it also made me want to look for counterexamples.) In Remains of the Day the main character is a repressed butler who devotes his life to providing exemplary service to a family that may not deserve his loyalty. In the process, he misses a shot at love with the family's housekeeper. The conflict ...


3

The key thing is not that they are everyman, it's that people can relate to them. If it's Dr Who or Gandalf, no - they're totally other. But if it's someone like Einstein or Alan Turing, it can work if they're also going through normal human life struggles that your audience can relate to. The difference with using a non-traditional narrator, is that now ...


3

I believe there is no "recipe" with which to cook up three-dimensional characters. However, since "good" characters - realistic, believable, full of faults, contradictions, anxieties and passions - are what I value above all in a story and what I put most effort in, here is how I develop my characters: Start with an idea. What kind of story do you want to ...


3

In my experience (in real life), some of the most bitter arguments are between people who whose positions are, objectively speaking, quite close. In this case, you've already outlined a key difference between these characters --whether cooperation with the military is acceptable. I can't foresee any trouble in drawing these two into a huge fight --just make ...


2

Your protagonist must be like your readers. At least in those aspects that are relevant for your story. People cannot relate to characters that are too much unlike them. So you need to define your target audience, and then make your protagonist "ordinary" for those readers. If you write for children, you protagonist must be childlike (no matter his age or ...


1

First, Imagine you are experiencing the same conflict as your character. Next, imagine that your mortal enemy (seriously, think of somebody you really dislike) wants to go with Option 1, which would naturally make you want to take up Option 2. The beauty of this is that you are not your character and thus do not have an opinion or a preference either way; ...


1

It should go without saying that some of these other answers have very valuable advice that is definitely worth reading. When people "debate" it is rarely calm and cool headed. It rarely stays on topic and quite often comes from the fact that the basic assumptions which each has hitherto assumed the other also held are different. This is a great time to ...


1

Let's call them Monty the Moderate and Larry the Left-Winger for the sake of discussion... I think both your charaters are less left-wing and anti-war than you think they are. If Monty is willing to train soldiers to be better assassins, that's not being anti war. That's being practical, or perhaps utilitarian: This war is ongoing; let's minimize the ...


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The less ordinary the better is what I think. Why would Joe Bloggs want to read a story about Joe Bloggs? Joe Bloggs would most probably enjoy the experience more if he/she were reading about Joe Awesomepants. Or, conversely, Joe Awfulpants. It is often the very high-achieving characters (richer than rich, powerful, slightly crazy) or the downright ...


1

If you haven't done so already, get and read "One flew over the cuckoo's nest" from Ken Kesey. Don't bother with the movie. It misses the perspective of the book, sacrificing most of its power. The book is written from the perspective of Chief Bromden, a hallucinating shadow of a giant reduced into submission by drugs and psychological warfare. Reading ...


1

Some of the other answers have done a great job at addressing the topic of good characters in general, so this focuses specifically on the dialogue: In my opinion, great dialogue is all about subtext. When people talk to each other, what's going on in the words is rarely the whole conversation. Mood, hidden goals and desires, mutual history, personality, ...



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