Creating realistic characters in fiction

I have had a few reviews from readers on Amazon lately that praise the way my characters feel like they are real people. I am greatly gratified by such comments. It’s what all writers seek to achieve.
I guess those readers can make such comments because, although they are fictional, my characters are also real people, comprising bits taken from people I know. A wisp of hair here, a jacket there, a prejudice from someone else.
I take a lot of time developing my characters but always with an aim in mind. I never create them for the sake of it.
They are the vehicle through which every writer tells their story, they are what brings the story to life, and all of them have jobs to do, making things happen, imparting information, allowing other characters to react to them etc.
But above all, they should be realistic - your reader should feel that your characters can actually walk into the room.
The best thing for a writer to do is ask a question – have I created a cardboard cut-out or someone real? If the character answers you’re onto something!

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