FLOG Your Characters



In order to give your characters more depth, you may want to FLOG them.  What do I mean by that?  FLOG is an exercise where you think about and list the following things about your character:

  • Fears
  • Loves
  • Obstacles
  • Goals


What are the major fears in your character’s life?  What are the things that keep her up at night? That she worries about all the time?  What causes her to break out into a cold sweat?  What causes her to avoid situations or other people?  What causes her to hide?

During your story, your character should come face to face with one or more of their fears.


On the other end of the spectrum, what are the major loves in your character’s life? This would not only be the people closest to her, but would also include activities and hobbies.  Another way to think about this, is what is she passionate about?  This can be emotional (e.g., her love of a child or a parent), intellectual (e.g., she loves freedom of speech) and physical (e.g., she loves to sail).

During your story, one or more of your character’s loves should be at least endangered, if not lost.


What are the obstacles in her life?  What holds her back?  Are there real barriers (e.g., finances) or internal barriers (e.g., she is introverted)?  These are things the character understands about herself and is frustrated by them.  The character always wonders how she can overcome them.

Your character should make some progress in overcoming obstacles during your story.


Finally, what are the goals in the character’s life?  What does she want to do?  What does she want to achieve or accomplish?

Besides just survival, it is more satisfying for the reader if your character also accomplishes one or more of the goals in their lives.  Even if not completely, at least partially.


All of the above items will factor into your characters make up and, taken together, gives a strong background for how your character acts, what they feel and what they think.

So remember, in order to better understand your characters, you may need to FLOG them




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