Characters are the lifeblood of any narrative. They drive the plot and evoke emotions. Here are some tips to help you create characters that linger in a reader's mind long after the final page is turned.
1. Give Them Flaws and Strengths
Perfection is forgettable. Flaws make a character relatable and real. Whether it's pride, a short temper, or overbearing shyness, flaws provide growth opportunities and the potential for conflict. It's possible for flaws to exist alongside the strengths that endear readers and drive the character's successes. Balance is key.
2. Develop Their Backstories
A character's past shapes their present. While you don't need to detail every childhood memory, having a grasp on their upbringing, pivotal life events, and past relationships adds depth and motivation to their actions.
3. Unique Physical Traits
A scar, a limp, vibrant hair color, or even a particular style of clothing can make a character stand out. These traits can serve as reminders of past events or illustrate aspects of their personality.
4. Distinguishable Voice
If your reader can identify a character by dialogue alone, you've achieved a unique voice. Thnk about their vocabulary, accent or dialect and any colloquialisms or phrases they could use.
5. Let Them Face Challenges
Adversity builds character. By placing your characters in challenging situations, you can then reveal their innermost fears, strengths and true nature. It's through these trials that characters become unforgettable.
6. Relationships Matter
How a character interacts with others reveals a lot about them. Friendships, romances, rivalries, and family ties can be used to show different facets of their personality.
7. Personal Growth
Static characters are dull. A memorable character evolves, learns, and grows. Whether they become wiser, learn from mistakes, or simply change their outlook, personal growth keeps readers invested in the story.
8. Underlying Consistency
While characters should grow, they should also remain consistent in some core beliefs and motivations. Sudden changes without justification can feel jarring and inauthentic.
Crafting memorable characters is worth the effort. As you begin your story, remember these tips and watch your characters spring to life.