When it comes to being a truly effective and efficient writer, one of the most important skills you could have is the ability to create truly memorable characters. Whether you are writing an entire book or just a short story, the ability to create such characters is very important because your characters are the focal point of your story. And if even your characters are not memorable, then how do you expect your readers to get invested in your writing.
Here are 6 ways to create truly memorable characters:
- Pattern your characters after people you know
One way of making your characters as memorable as possible is to pattern them after people in your life. This will allow you to infuse a sense of realism and humanity into your characters. The great J.R.R Tolkien himself, patterned many of his legendary characters in the Lord of the Rings book series after his old comrades in the army. During his time as a British soldier in the 1st World War, J.R.R Tolkien experienced the harsh realities of war. He saw comrades die in battle and lost his fair share of friends. But he also saw the heroism and self-sacrifice that made his books a masterpiece.
So it stands to reason that you pattern your own batch of characters after people in your life. Whether it is a family member, a friend, an acquaintance or maybe even an enemy, it is all really up to you. What matters is that you infuse qualities of these people into your characters. That way your characters will become much more relatable and believable.
- Give your characters a detailed backstory
If you want to make your characters as memorable as possible, it is always a good idea to give your characters as detailed a backstory as possible. Whether it is the protagonist, antagonist or supporting character a detailed backstory will always make them feel more real.
A good backstory can also help make your characters more layered. Your protagonist could have a tragic past that he is trying to forget, or your antagonist could have lost a loved one in the past. Which is what compels him or her to be antagonistic to your protagonist.
All in all, the more detailed your character’s backstory the more likeable and interesting they will be.
- Give your characters quirks and idiosyncrasies
If there is one good tip on how to create believable characters, it is to give your characters as many quirks and idiosyncrasies as possible. This is because quirks and idiosyncrasies give your characters a defining quality that readers will associate with them.
Your character can have a penchant for cooking, a fear of commitment or a love for action figures. He or she could also have a certain way of talking or a favorite line.
All in all, by giving your character quirks and idiosyncrasies, you are making your character more layered and memorable.
- Give your characters goals
Yet another great tip on how to make your characters as memorable as possible, is to make their goals clear from the start. By giving your characters a definite goal, you are giving them something to strive for. It is also a way for you to give the story direction and pacing.
By giving your characters goals, you are also making them relatable, because readers also have dreams and goals of their own, and there is a chance that they will see themselves in your characters.
- Character growth is key
Character growth is quite important, this is because no reader wants to read about a character that stays the same through the years. Readers want to see growth, they want to see how your character evolves.
For example, you are writing about the life of a young boy. You detail his life and experiences in a series of books. And as he grows and experiences the many aspects of life, you should show how these experiences made him grow as a person. Show how his life and loves, affected him and how his personality changed through the years.
In truth character evolution is one of the best parts about character creation, because it is not only a great writing exercise, but also quite a great experience to see how your character changed through the years.
- Be adventurous!
If there is one tip on how to make your characters that you should always remember, it is to be as adventurous as possible. Remember that a multitude of characters have been written through the years, and it is hard to make a truly interesting character that stands out.
So before you even start on the character writing process, you should have an adventurous outlook. Don’t limit yourself to tropes or old clichés when it comes to writing characters. Take risks and try to make your characters as unique as possible.