How to create memorable characters

How to create memorable characters
               
You are here because you want to learn how to create memorable characters as  some of your favourite writers have done. It is not as difficult as you think. 

By the time you finish reading this post, you will be well on your way to create your characters that readers will remember decades later - every writer's hope.

Look at yourself and the people around you. You are all actors on this stage called life, according to William Shakespeare  - characters really. 

In writing your characters you need to capture the essence of yourself and the people around you in your writing - quirks and all. If you manage to do this, you will have created an authentic character that will stimulate the imagination of readers.

Characters

The writer is an artist who uses the tools that she possesses - words, general knowledge of the writing process and her experiences in creative ways to craft stories that tug at the emotions of readers in specific ways. These stories may be fiction or nonfiction and these stories are told by  characters  who take action to achieve a particular goal. They face obstacles which they may or may not overcome by the end of your story.  

Here are a few tips to help you create memorable characters:

Create memorable characters 

Give your characters a motive for action.

First, to create memorable characters, ask yourself these questions: What is motivating my characters to act? What do they want? Interesting characters always want something and they struggle to achieve whatever they want, often overcoming the obstacles in their way. Give your characters a motivation for their actions in your story.

Know your characters.

Second, to create memorable characters answer this question: Who are my characters? To answer this question, you must show where they are from and the physical place that is their home. Let your readers know about your characters through your descriptions. In addition, what is their emotional state and how was this emotional state developed? Was it developed by family influences, or were there other influences? The bottom-line is that you have to situate your characters physically and emotionally in your stories.

Craft unpredictable characters.

Third, to create memorable characters, allow your characters to surprise you and your readers. Allow them to do something unexpected, something that you and the reader wouldn’t have expected them to do, given how they were portrayed by their previous actions. Human beings are unpredictable, most of the times. Capture this unpredictability by allowing your characters to surprise.

Allow your characters to act.

Fourth, to create memorable characters allow your characters to act. This point is similar to the one above but deserves its own space. Characters are active so give your characters something to do. People act in daily life. They talk. They laugh. They quarrel... They move from place to place. Your characters must engage in actions to seem authentic. So, aim to have your characters doing something, instead of being passive.

The above are the main points that you should consider when you are developing your characters but here are some additional points to help you create memorable characters:
  • You should be willing to step aside and allow the characters to tell their stories. 
  • You should have well-developed, identifiable characters.
  • You are just putting down on paper, so to speak, the words, actions and thoughts of your characters. 
  • Develop, well, your main characters at the expense of minor ones. (Quite obvious, isn't it?)
  • If you give your characters specialised skills, do research to understand these skills and their nuances. Throughout the story, allow the reader to get a sense that the characters know what they are doing and what they are talking about; that they are exactly who you say they are; that they are credible, believable.
  • Gradually introduce your characters to readers; allow readers to learn more about them by what they say, what they do and what others say about them.
  • Give your characters roles. Characters develop the plot through their actions.
  • Allow the characters to introduce the reader to the settings in which you place them in their own voice. Mute your voice as far as possible. Remember that you're just recording the thoughts and actions of your characters.
  • Remember! Characters speak, they act, they think, they feel, they respond to sense stimuli.
  • You, the author, are an artist. You combine, in unique ways, your characters with particular settings and draw the readers into the conflicts, major and minor, in which they are engaged, and which they will resolve by the end of the story; you create suspense through the actions of your characters; you bring the action of your story to a climax; you allow your readers to relax in the aftermath; you conclude the story and hope that the readers "get it". 

Conclusion

In this post you got some tips on how to create memorable characters. In spite of these tips, remember that you're creating your own masterpiece, according to the vision that you have of it, a vision that will not give you any rest until it is captured. Go capture your vision! 

Here is my latest book. We've just looked at how to create memorable characters. How do the major characters in this book stack up?
How to create memorable characters

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About the Author

Janette B. Fuller is a teacher and author of three books. Her business is to write stories set in the place she knows best – Jamaica – while also helping writers to write their own stories. 

When you are ready to write your story, make contact with her at writingwisdomtree@gmail.com. Check out her books here











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