Interesting Characteristics

Develop Characters with Interesting Characteristics

Develop a character that is interesting to the reader.

  • Make the scene, character and situation believable.
  • Give the character one or more unusual characteristics or habits.
  • Make your main character(s) desire something, and make the desire their driving force. Think about why they can never have what they want.  By giving your character desires and disappointments you will see how this can develop into stories.

Sleeping on the Job

Little Jimmy stares at the keys on the kitchen counter. “I can do this.” He picks them up, tosses them into the air, and grabs them with a flick of his wrist. Walking across the lawn, he begins whistling “Dixie”, but thanks to his 265-pound frame, his whistle turns to a wheeze before he reaches his truck.

A thin layer of dust masks the Ford F350’s true color. “Ya shouldn’t be looking like this, baby.” Jimmy grabs the hose and washes the truck using only water and his hands. His daddy told him never to use a washcloth because it could scratch the paint.

After washing and drying the truck, he steps back, admiring the glistening black and chrome finish. “Ya sure are something.” He opens the truck’s door, slides in, and slips the key into the ignition. The 362 horsepower Triton V10 comes to life. As the dual exhausts rumble, Jimmy smiles. “Oh yeah.”

He slips the transmission into reverse, backs the truck up, and heads towards the highway.


“Just whatdaya think yer doin’?”

Jimmy hears Betsy Anne’s question, but it doesn’t register at first. He opens his eyes and looks around. Betsy Anne stands next to the driver’s door with her finger pointing at his face. The truck sits with its nose in the ditch, the engine running, and the transmission still in gear.

Shaking his head, Jimmy mumbles, “No … not again.”

“Ya fell asleep, didnya?” Betsy Anne grabs the door and yanks it open. “My God, ya coulda killed someone.”

Angry tears stream down his wife’s face. “Ya promised me. Never again is what you said after what happened the last time.”

Jimmy slides the shifter into park, turns off the engine, and just sits there. He stares out the windshield unable to look at Betsy Anne. “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”

She sticks her hand palm up in front of his face and glares at him. “Gimme the keys.”


In the kitchen, Betsy Anne stands next to the sink facing Jimmy. “Now tell me, what was so darned important that couldn’t wait for me to get home?”

He sits down at the table and runs his hands through his thick, black hair. “Well, I thought … just maybe …”

“Jimmy,” Betsy Anne interrupts, “ya know ya can’t drive with this sleepin’ condition. It’s too dangerous.” She sits down across from Jimmy. “Ya just can’t control it. Ya don’t have the foggiest idea when or where yer gonna fall asleep.”

“I know.” Jimmy looks up at her. “But, what good is a man that can’t even drive his own truck?”

“Jimmy, one more wreck and Beau will have to suspend ya from the force.” She reaches across the table and wraps her hands around his. “Yer 45 years old. We got a kid in college an’ another who can’t even afford his own place.”

“I know–I know, but …”

“There are no buts, Jimmy.” She interrupts again. “If ya need to go to the station, I told ya I’d drive.”

“Well, this narcolepsy condition sure is frustrating sometimes.”

She pats his hands and nods. “But somehow ya always manage to get by.”

He looks up and searches her eyes. “I didn’t tell ya this last night, but in the middle of my testimony yesterday, the defendant’s attorney brought up my condition and questioned my ability to do my job.”

“I know it hasn’t been easy, Jimmy.” She squeezes his hands. “But it sure doesn’t help that ya can’t stay awake on the witness stand.”

Jimmy’s head snaps up, but when he sees Betsy Anne smiling, the tension evaporates and he laughs.

“Well, thank God Beau is yer boss,” she continues. “After failin’ yer last two physicals, him makin’ ya a detective sure saved yer bacon.”

“Are ya telling me I need to take better care of myself?”  

Betsy Anne reaches up, pinches her husband’s cheeks, and smiles. “Wouldn’t hurt ya to take off 70 or 80 pounds.”

Jimmy jumps up from the table, sucks in his belly, and gives her a Mr. Universe pose. “Enough of this talk, woman. I need a ride to work.”

Laughing, they walk hand in hand out the back door and down the steps.