Nathan Bransford: Don’t be too easy on your characters

Nathan Bransford offers brings us another writerly must-know. Brace yourself and try to keep a stiff upper up as you face up to the pain you’re going to cause…and feel as well.

by Nathan Bransford

We writers can get really, really attached to our characters. They become almost like family members. We want the best for them. Sometimes it can be difficult to see them make mistakes, to see their flaws, and to let the bad qualities shine through from time to time.

We can be way too nice to them.

But if you’re too easy to your characters, your novel might suffer. You might be missing opportunities to show the full range of their personality. Here are some tips for making sure your esteem for your characters doesn’t sink your novel.

Don’t let your characters be perfect

George R.R. Martin’s novel A Game of Thrones, and the Song of Ice and Fire series as a whole, is known for many things, including for serving as the basis of an HBO series and for being the gold standard for gritty modern fantasy. But above all, as a Better Book Titles blog parody joked, A Game of Thrones may as well be titled “Don’t Get Too Attached.”

When people warn you not to get too attached to Martin’s characters, they are usually referring to how the people who die in Martin’s novels aren’t the people you expect to die. He has a remarkable capacity for killing off characters. Anyone can die at any moment, and Martin uses this unpredictable atmosphere to terrific effect….

Read it all at

We're looking forward to your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.