What a character! When using this phrase, we know what that means to us. Character is an umbrella for the temperament, morality, personality, and so much more of an individual. These are the tools writers use to craft a story.
In a murder mystery, believable characters are essential to move the plot. Every possible plot has already been written. Intrigue and suspense depend on the reader identifying with believable heroes, villains, and supporting cast. We painstakingly craft the many facets of each person we introduce to our story.
How does an author develop believable characters?
Do not make the person perfect, introduce flaws, weaknesses, and imperfections. Each potential suspect has a secret to hide, contributing to the suspense. Characters must demonstrate a personality through their actions and in their dialogue. The protagonist can even be disliked by the reader, as long as the reader cares about them and their success.
A well-developed character will lead the writer through each scene. Several times I froze when writing Dead Air, stuck in a scene not knowing where to go. I was trying to think for Beck, determine his next step. When I allowed Beck to do the thinking, the story moved on. I had to let him solve the crime in his own way.
Pay attention to your characters and readers will be saying “What a character.”