How to Take Your Characters on a Transformative Journey

Does the thought of characters give you a wonderful feeling all over? It does for me. I think that’s the sign of a bookworm. Or a writer. Or both!

Anyways, I love them. Well, I love it when they make me love them… but I don’t love all characters. Talk about a jumbled sentence. XD Let me try again.

When characters are crafted well and created to be relatable, loveable, and portraying a truth that I need to hear—that’s when I fall head over heels in love with them. I mentally thank the author for creating such an amazing character. Because these are the books that become my new favorites, all because of the character.

However, there are way too many stories with characters that are cringy and, well, bland. Every time I come across a story like this it makes me so sad. Because the character had so much potential. But they went stagnant under the author’s pen.

But how do you create a character that has all the qualities that make readers adore them? I think every writer would kill for the answer to this question. I won’t pretend to know all the answers, but I definitely have my own tips and tricks that I’ve found success in. I thought I would share.

Internal Conflict

If you’re a fan of Abbie Emmons, then you already know all there is to know on this topic. It’s a favorite topic of hers. But, because of her, it’s become a favorite topic of mine as well and something that I could literally fangirl about all day long. Internal conflict is key to every character you create!

If you’ve never heard of Abbie Emmons, though, for one, you need to check her out! But in the meantime, let me give you a quick run down on internal conflict. Believe me, you won’t regret it. In fact, this is the main thing right here to crafting characters that everyone will relate with and love.

Internal conflict: fear vs. desire.

Everybody has internal conflict inside them. Simply put, it’s your greatest fear raging a war against your greatest desire, and making a wreck of your emotions.

For a small example, think of a time when you had to make a really big decision. You know what you want (probably whatever the end result of this decision would be), but there’s also something you’re afraid of (and that fear is more than likely holding you back from making the decision). This is called internal conflict.

To create internal conflict, you have to come up with a fear, desire, and misbelief for your characters. When you analyze some of the greatest stories you’ll see that every character has this. And that is what makes them so strong and relatable.

For example: Anne from Anne of Green Gables

Her fear: That she will never have a home or family to call her ownthat she will never be loved or wanted.

Her desire: To find a homeand therefore be loved and wanted.

Her misbelief: That no one will love her for who she is.

This internal conflict is what gives her a character arc. It’s the basis of every decision she makes throughout the story. Even within yourself, your internal conflict is the reason you do so many of the things that you do.

Even if you’re not an orphan, even if you’ve always lived a comfortable life with a loving family, you can relate with Anne because, well, who can’t relate with the feeling of wanting to be loved? Of feeling unwanted? Of feeling like you don’t belong? All of this and more is what makes Anne the relatable character that she is.

Character Arc

Once you know your character’s internal conflict, you are now able to create their character arc.

A character arc is the transformation or inner journey of a character over the course of a story. If a story has a character arc, the character begins as one sort of person and gradually transforms into a different sort of person in response to changing developments in the story.

Readers want to see change. If there is no change in your story by the end of the story, then what was the point of it? What was the point of spending 300+ pages telling a story that had no purpose or reason to it? The reader will feel jipped, and very disappointed. To me, it feels like a waste of time.

Please! Do not let this be your story. Give your characters internal conflict (a.k.a., a reason for us to relate and fall in love with your characters), and give them a character arc. Take them on a transformative journey that will not only change their life, but will change the readers life as well.

Because those are the stories that everyone remembers.

Once you come up with your character’s internal conflict, there’s not much left to creating the character arc. Take the conflict that they are actively working through, and think through where you want them to be with it by the end of the story. Where will they be at the beginning of the story? Where will they be at the mid point? Where will they be at the ending?

These are questions that, once you answer, you will have the basis of your character’s arc. Admittedly, I’m sure there’s much more to it than that but it’s a topic I haven’t studied deeply. However, if you’re just wanting a simple formula, this is for you. It’s simple, but effective.

If you want to do a deeper study dive on it, Abbie Emmons has videos on it and K.M. Weiland has an entire book on the topic. I plan to study it better myself… one of these days. XD (Isn’t that what we say about everything?) But in the meantime, this is what I do for my characters and it’s worked amazing every time.


So there you have it! Two simple steps that will take you light years ahead of many other authors in creating characters that will stand out from the crowd and cause readers to fall head over heels in love. You can do all kinds of studies on characters and learn so much more than what I’ve put in this post. I encourage you to do your own studies and find what works best for you!

I hope this article was helpful for you though and that it will be a great booster in crafting your stories. I know it’s helped me so much and that I would not be where I am now with my writing if I hadn’t learned about these two steps.

Internal conflict. I can’t stress it enough. It truly is the secret ingredient to every character that you love. Do I need to convince you more? Maybe I’ll do a case study on internal conflict in some of my favorite books to better show you how time and time again this proves to be the best way to create loveable and relatable characters.

In the meantime, keep writing! Don’t overthink it—just do it. You have it in you, I know it. <33

Your turn!

What are some of your favorite characters? Why do you love them so much? Have you ever created internal conflict or a character arc for you characters?

Blessings, Allyson


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