Now that we’ve played around with perspective for a few days, let’s turn our attention to character.
Of course you want your hero to be heroic and your bad guys to be evil, but don’t forget that one dimensional characters are unrealistic and unsympathetic.
So what’s the solution?
Give Your Character a Flaw
The key to giving your character an interesting flaw is to let the readers see the potential for failure early on.
If your heroine is a devoted mother and that is going to be the thrust of the story, let the readers see her having a moment of resentment, of longing for her former freedom. Raise the stakes by giving her chances to regret that feeling later, when her children are in peril. It’s not who she really is, but it was a very human impulse. Your readers will empathize both with the impulse and the regret.
If your hero is a wise-cracker, hint that there is a serious reason underneath.
The same goes for the evil witch in the office, who makes your main character’s life a misery. If she is all bad, the reader will get bored with her. If she has a hint of a redeeming feature (even if it is that she is hilarious), the readers will have more patience for her necessary appearances in the story.
Just don’t go overboard with this. It’s a short story. A quick hint early on is all you should need to put on the page.