Creating three-dimensional characters is a cornerstone of compelling horror writing. In my upcoming book, Shadows & Ink, we dive deep into this art, but here’s a sneak peek:

Backstory and Motivation: Every character in horror should have a past that shapes them. Understanding where they come from and what drives them creates a foundation for their actions and decisions. Delve into their history, explore their fears, ambitions, and what keeps them up at night. This backstory provides a richer context for their behaviors, making them more than just figures in a story.

Flaws and Strengths: Complex characters are a blend of strengths and weaknesses. These flaws make them human and relatable, while their strengths can drive the plot forward. A well-rounded character might be brave yet impulsive, or intelligent but overly cautious. This balance adds realism and depth, engaging the reader more deeply in their journey.

Dynamic Growth: Characters in horror should not remain static. As the story progresses, they should experience change, influenced by the events and challenges they face. This evolution can be toward something better or worse, but it should be significant and impact the story. Dynamic growth makes characters more engaging and the story more compelling. A character might become tough and take action, but also become distant and emotionless at home.

Unique Voice: Give each character a distinctive voice and mannerisms. This uniqueness should reflect in their dialogue, thoughts, and reactions. It helps differentiate them from each other and brings authenticity to the narrative. Whether it’s a quirky turn of phrase, a distinct accent, or a unique worldview, these nuances bring characters to life.

Internal Conflicts: Great horror characters often grapple with internal dilemmas. These conflicts, whether moral, emotional, or psychological, add a layer of complexity. A character might struggle with guilt, fear, or a haunting secret. These internal battles can be as gripping as the external horror, adding to the suspense and emotional depth of the story.

Shadows & Ink offers more insights on crafting characters that leap off the page and into readers’ imaginations, diving very deep into each of these aspects and more. Stay tuned for its release and transform your horror writing with characters that truly resonate.

Until next time,
Joe Mynhardt

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