Wednesday, August 25, 2021

How to Write a Character with Integrity

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Integrity applies to characters who value and practice honesty and strive in every way to practice strong moral and ethical principles. They are unwavering in a persistent quest to live their beliefs in public, with family and friends, and when no one is watching. When these characters fail, they learn from their mistakes and establish means to change their behavior. 

Integrity provides a facade for those characters who seek to hide their activities and motives. Antagonists may display integrity to manipulate others, but within their fiber lies selfishness, greed, and a propensity to dishonesty for personal gain. What is missing in a character’s life speaks louder than what is told to the reader.

Characters who insist upon integrity are credible. 

They are genuinely who they say they are and show it to the reader. Antagonists can offer appreciable traits, but their actions pave the way for a positive or negative outcome.

What else shows a character has integrity?

Is the protagonist always able to avoid confrontations that result in angry  explosions, hurtful words, and sometimes violence? Not at all. They are like  humans: imperfect individuals. Antagonists use calm attitudes and temper flare-ups to get what they want, while protagonists strive to respect others Patience is a virtue, a trait an honorable character seeks to emulate. Antagonists, depending on their goal in the scene, may choose patience to move forward on their less than stellar goals. 

Love for oneself and others, even the unlovable shows a character is worthy of integrity. Kindness, forgiveness, the ability to apologize, solid listening skills, and respect for other’s opinions, beliefs, culture, occupation, and time are positive traits, although putting them into practice can be difficult.


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. 

She is the former director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson. Connect here:


  1. Very good, Miss DiAnn. It's easier to write a character with integrity if we possess the trait. To me, it's harder to write an antagonist, although I have met a few. Good info.

    1. Thanks, Kathy - we simply have to think bad-stuff to write the antagonist. :)

  2. Excellent information! Thank you for sharing!