AWP Tips for Writers by Tipsy Tullivan Here’s the problem that you might encounter as a writer. You have been told to create a compelling three-dimensional character and you are stuck. There is not a single 3D character in your whole life that you know. Nobody. You might need to give the character a scar. Yeah, a scar. You might need to take off an arm. Nothing like Joey who’s missing an arm over here. And that distinguishes your character. You could give ’em cancer It’s a little overdone. So I kinda hesitate on that one. Nothing wrong with making ’em bald. Psoriasis is really underrated in fiction. You can use props. You can give ’em a crutch. Put ’em on the side of the road. Stick a sign out, saying, “Help! I’m starving.” I have had really great success with an eye patch. Yeah, just a little eye patch you put on the character. You could make ’em blind, but again, we just had Anthony Doerr, All the Light They Cannot See, Love that book! I love it when a book makes you feel like, yeah, she’s blind but not really. She’s not really blind. She’s just blind for the book. She needs to be blind for it. But not — actually — if you met her on the street, she wouldn’t be blind. And I always say, if you can’t figure out how to create that rich three-dimensional character and you don’t want to really commit to crippling ’em up, or giving ’em a terminal problem. like they’re gonna die from it, just give ’em a birth mark. Give ’em a birthmark. But make it something big. All over the face.