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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorable Characters

There are some characters in literature that you just don't forget. They leave a lasting impression on your life. You never forget what happened to them, who they were and what they taught you. Sometimes when I read, I think the character is my friend. I know so much about them I feel like I know them, fully. It's crazy.

As authors, how do we create these memorable characters?

I'm struggling with this myself. I want my characters to be the best and make you remember them. I can't tell you how many times I've read and then after I'm asking myself, what the characters name was. I write reviews, so if I can't remember a character's name, that's a problem.

From this page, I've found some useful tips that I've used in my writing...

Vulnerability- Who likes a perfect character with a perfect life? Nobody and frankly, nobody can relate to that. Everyone has issues and problems so a character with problems is more relatable and memorable.

Conflict- The character has to have some issue. If they don't, what's the point of the book. They need to overcome their obstacles to get past the conflict. There needs to be some sort of conflict and resolution- or many.

Down Time- The pace of your characters and the story is important. Fast-paced 24/7 action is great and it gets the reader into it but the story won't last. You need to have some down time to establish character traits and reflect.

Memorable Traits- Duh. But we don't always think of it. We tend to create characters that work or have been done before. Make them stand out and have different traits than a normal character. Make them unique!

Internal Conflicts- Your character should grow and change throughout the book. You don't want to read about a character who doesn't learn from their mistakes or who stays one dimensional. Your character should have some struggle internally and then overcome it through the book.

Tips I've come up with....

Name- Names are huge for characters. I just started reading a book, it's sci-fi so the names tend to be a tad weirder and the name was, Tro^ak. I mean really? How do I even pronounce that? It's cool and it sets the scene but at least make something with just letters.

Avoid Using Cliches- I hate reading a book where the main character is predictable thanks to cliches. You know what genre the character fits in and you can guess what they're going to do. It's so annoying. I want to read about new characters with new problems and new traits.

Use Real Life Knowledge- It's hard to write about something you know nothing about. Use traits from people you know in real life and use them in your character. Also use faces you see and make the character. It's much more realistic if you know what you're talking about.

Know Your Characters- I think it's crucial to really know your characters. Know how they react to situations, know how they talk, their habits, their flaws. Understanding what they know and they don't. Their insecurities. If you really know your character you can make them memorable.

How do you guys create memorable characters? What are the best traits for characters? Post below with your advice!

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