- Are they three-dimensional?
- Do they have a past and a present?
- Can the reader imagine a future for them?
- Do they have faults and good qualities?
- Do they have flaws that are not easily fixed?
- Does the protagonist have several strong traits and one major glaring weakness?
- Does the glaring weakness form the underlying tension for the protagonist and drive his behavior?
- Can the characters be seen clearly?
- Are full descriptions of the major characters given?
- Do the minor characters have a special characteristic that makes them seem real?
- Is the protagonist’s commitment to his goal believable?
- Are the characters’ emotions shown?
- Are the character’s quirks consistent throughout the story?
- Does the protagonist appear to be stronger and smarter than the villain?
- Is there something about the villain that charms or entices people?
- Is he/she as strong as the hero?
- Is the villain credible, logical, and believable but not likeable?
- Is the villain more than just evil without enough depth of character for the reader to see him as real?
- Can the reader see inside the villain’s head to understand why he acts the way he does?
- Does the villain do something that is too over-the-top?
- Are the villain’s actions and logic perfectly justifiable to him?
- Is the villain strong enough to battle the hero?
- Do the characters act true to themselves?
- Is too much detail given in describing character actions?
- Does a character act “out of character”?
- Are characters reacting more than acting?
- Are all character actions and reactions motivated?
- Does each character reaction affect the character in some way?
- Are the character motivations clear?
- Do things happen because the writer needs them to and not because the character needs them to?
- Are the character names fitting and easily remembered by the reader?
- Are the characters introduced at the right time?
- Are all of the characters necessary with a purpose?
- Do character descriptions come naturally in dialogue or in action?
- Is the interior monologue realistic?
- Is too much time spent with minor characters?
- Do the characters express their feelings? Or are you, as the writer, telling what the character’s feelings are?
- Are the characters and their actions telling the story? Or is the writer stopping to bring the reader up to date with the storyline progress?
- Have characters been mentioned and then gone missing in the storyline?
- Are there too many characters on stage at one time?
- Are the protagonist and antagonist introduced in a way that makes a strong first impression on readers?
- Do the characters react to the turning point(s) in a believable manner?
- Does the protagonist grow through the story somehow?
- Has the protagonist undergone a fundamental change?
- Does the protagonist change his outlook on something, realize something about himself, or be moved to act in a way he wouldn’t have before?