Quick Tip: Do characters’ actions arise from their needs?

person holding blue ballpoint pen writing in notebook

When editing drafts of your manuscript, examine how your characters’ motivations are presented as the story unfolds.

Do their actions and decisions arise from those needs? If not, readers won’t view them as realistic because the characters do what the author wants them to do.

Instead, the characters should behave like real people with those actual desires and goals. Because the characters are intrinsically motivated rather than the author’s puppets, they will be independent and hence “real.”


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.