This applies to main characters mostly. I really hate characters which are always doing the right thing. They are simply not believable to me in the least. Whenever I read a book about such characters, most of the time I think they are stupid.
There is always a fine line between having a moral code and forgiving and simply being a self harming idiot. And I absolutely despite villains who just change at the last moment, it never happens at all and please don’t tell me that he was possessed, it simply feels cheap.
I really like realistic characters, and maybe it’s why I end up writing mostly anti-heroes, or even villains. Those that are realistic and sound in their decisions. Rather than being irrational and saving the world because of it.
If a hero always manages to go through everything without ever growing at all, and not growing through any ordeal. Then, he is simply a flat character. He does not learn anything from his own adventures and simply is not a good hero.
Or heroes whose view on the world never changes, even slightly. It doesn’t have to be as big as from good to evil. Perhaps a little more willing to sacrifice others for the greater good or just willing to accept that some are beyond saving. That’s a change. The saviour complex sometimes needs to stop really.
And also, don’t try and link characters together by a prophecy. It’s old and it’s tried. For me, a far better and more interesting thing is to watch characters dig their own graves, and characters becoming their downfall through their own mistakes. I really like characters that are also driven whether by revenge, or any other means. They just need to have a goal, and not just a person that the reader slip into.
They also must grow and change. Like earlier, it can be anything from personalities or moral ethnics, but I believe the goal should not change much at all. I strongly dislike characters who just change their goal unless they have achieved it or found a better goal. They should never just be solely forgetting the previous goal. Goals can make or a break a character, especially villains and protagonists. Their goal should always be opposite of each other to be interesting.
Overall, I really think that believable characters are made of goals that may never change, constant growth at the end of the book and most importantly, having characters be driven through it rather than some prophecy.
What do you think makes up a believable characters? Or is there anything I have left out which you think is important? Please leave it in the comments below.