Characters aren’t just some random made-up beings that do our bidding.
Okay, so they truly are. The problem is a lot of writers out there treat them as such. Doing so makes them unbelievable. Just like Tim in the office with the girlfriend no one has ever seen or met. She may exist, but not in the essence that everyone hopes.
Your characters are the same. If you don’t believe they are real, your readers never will. Eventually the gags and jokes will get old and everyone will just stop dealing with you altogether. Just like they stop listening to Tim, they will stop reading your words. Name your characters. All of them.
Make Your Characters Believable
Your characters have to be believable. It doesn’t matter if they are just the drunk old man next door that yells at cats passing through his yard, or if they are some masked super villain intent on destroying the world in some insane and half-cocked way. As long as you believe it, the reader will too.
Make your characters real people. I don’t mean you need to do an episode of Weird Science and create life, just do it in your head. If your character is thirty-six years old in your novel he still needs to be born, go to school, get in trouble by his parents. Even if the reader never knows any of this, you must know.
Your Characters Have a Backstory, too
Develop your backstory with them, know every detail. Know about that cowlick that makes brushing their hair impossible. Know that they never leave the house without 47 cents in their left hip pocket. Know every tiny nuance about them.
You will discover that they have their own language, their own way of thinking, their own mindset and habits. Eventually, they will be real people to you.
Make it Count
I get so involved in the lives my characters live before they ever appear in my books that I have real feelings for them. I find myself apologizing to them before I write a scene where they get injured. I congratulate them when they solve the tough issue. In doing so, I know and feel they are real people and in my stories, it shows.
Make it show in your stories and your readers will thank you for it. If you name your characters, their back story is easier to understand. You will notice, your readers will notice and nothing will ever go bad because of it.