In a short story you don’t have time to include a lot of characters– one or two main characters is enough. You can include some other minor characters if you need them to make the plot work, but not too many. Only give names to major characters – it will help the reader to work out who matters enough to remember.
Make each character distinctive. Think of one characteristic – physical or personal – which summarises them. In your planning, note down each character and their unique identifying point, with two or three different ways of referring to it. Referring to the same thing in different ways reinforces the character and it adds cohesion to the whole story.
When you check through your work make sure that each character talks in the way you’d expect them to. If you’ve got a member of the royal family in your story, they won’t talk like you and your friends.
- “Dunno, shurrup. Weren’t me.”
- “I’m not entirely sure. Could you perhaps repeat yourself?”