A character without real-life issues isn't believable. My favorite characters deal with problems I can relate to. I don't read solely to learn a lesson, but the best books do inspire me to live a life more pleasing to the Lord.
A few examples of these types of books include Courting Cate, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, Listen, My Stubborn Heart, etc.
The heroine in one of my novels was diagnosed with severe endometriosis as a teenager. Complications led to surgery, and now at twenty-six, she has no hope of holding her own child.
She is a strong-willed character for several reasons, but her infertility drives the story.
One of the fun parts of writing is "becoming" your characters. Delving into their circumstances, their personalities, imagining their emotions. For this heroine, I had to mull over some questions. How far would I go to gain the family I've always yearned for? Would I rearrange my life? Sacrifice the heart of the man I love? What if I had the chance to adopt a family member, my own niece or nephew?
Could I give up that opportunity to save my relationship with the guy I've always dreamed of marrying? Could I surrender my plans to the Lord, even if I hadn't felt His presence in a long while?
As these answers melded, my heroine became real. She became a woman I could imagine knowing, one I could imagine lounging on the couch with watching our favorite Food Network competition show and talking about the hero.
What makes a character believable to you? Do you like a character with a good dose of flaws?
Know anyone diagnosed with endometriosis?
And on another note, which would you prefer for a snack--peanut butter fudge or spicy buffalo chicken dip?