Five tips for creating unforgettable characters
While people enjoy plots, they love characters. And they will return to your book – or series – again and again if they lover the characters. So, here are five tips to help you create characters that your readers will never forget.
1. Give your characters unique traits
One of the easiest ways to make your characters unforgettable is to give them a unique trait. It obviously needs to be unique from all the other characters within your story, but you’ll get bonus points if it’s unique in general.
Whether it’s a weird habit, a physical characteristic, or a personality trait, make sure your characters have something about them that will make them distinct and memorable.
2. Make them likable and relatable
Another way to ensure your characters are unforgettable is to make them likable and relatable to your readers, although those don’t have to be the same thing!
In screen-writing parlance, characters (especially your main characters) should have “save the cat” moments that make us like them. Even if they’re a gruff beat cop or con artist or thief, seeing them do a good deed early on in the story will help us like them in spite of their less savoury acts.
And we all have our own personal experiences and perspectives, so if your characters can tap into that, they’ll be more likely to stay in your readers’ minds when they say, “They’re just like me!” Whether you’re writing about a fantasy orcs or your story is set in the distant future, we’ve all gone through heart-break, bullying, etc.
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3. Write them with depth
Don’t just focus on their surface-level characteristics: dig deeper and explore what motivates them, what their fears are, and what makes them tick. (It’s common to hear the phrase that everyone is the hero of their story.) The more complex and multi-dimensional your characters are, the more unforgettable they’ll be.
And while secondary characters shouldn’t overshadow your protagonist, they need to have all of these things too! It’s not uncommon for secondary characters to be a reader’s favourite.
4. Go beyond the basics
If you really want to make your characters unforgettable, you need to go beyond the basics. Think about their backstory, their relationships, their goals, and their challenges. Especially in genre fiction that have fantastical and futuristic worlds, make sure their backstory and personality are shaped by the world they inhabit.
5. Bring your characters to life
One of the best ways to make your characters unforgettable is to bring them to life on the page. Write with vivid detail and make your readers feel like they’re right there alongside your characters, experiencing everything firsthand. If you can make your readers feel like they know your characters, they’ll never forget them.
Creating unforgettable characters is one of the most important aspects of writing a great story. By following these tips, you can make sure your characters are ones that your readers will never forget.