on Writing Forward:
Creating a realistic character is one of the most difficult challenges in writing a piece of fiction. We’ve all read stories in which the characters were dull or hollow; they come across like clones of the same characters we’ve met in dozens of stories before.
Readers want characters who are as unique and complex as real people.
Are we, as writers, obligated to deliver such characters?
Not necessarily. Plenty of stories are plot-driven or centered around theme rather than character. But the stories that resonate most feature vivid, dynamic characters. Readers and writers often sing the praises of character-driven fiction. So the single best way to intrigue readers is to give them characters they can’t forget.