What makes a story good? What makes a story memorable?
After reading a book what do you remember most about that book? The setting, the plot or the characters.
I think a great character makes a story memorable!
How do we make them memorable?
Is it through their description (black hair, blue eyes, short), or where they live or come from or by their actions and words?
I think their actions and words are what make them special. Their quirks, uniqueness, habits, abilities, etc.
So, if your character is a blond, blue eyed person who offers no uniqueness or lasting impression to your readers, then he may be a character they will soon forget after they've read the book.
Our goal, as a writer, is to make our story and our character something readers will remember long after finishing the book.
One of my favorite characters is Grandma Dowdel in A Long Way from Chicago and A year Down Yonder by Richard Peck.
Here are a few small snippets from the first chapter about her:
You couldn't call her a welcoming woman, and there wasn't a hug in her.
"Hoo-boy," Grandma said.
She aimed one of her chins down the platform.
"How about some supper? My stomach's flapping against my backbone," she said. "If I don't eat, I get cranky."
And heaven knows, we couldn't have that.
That is just the tip of the iceberg.
Other things to remember when making your character is to exaggerate some of his characteristics. Give them flaws. Have them easily fascinated or accident prone. Make them a nerd or a hypochondriac. Make them unpredictable and have them do something completely out of character every once in a while.
Who is one of your favorite characters?
What is some advice you can give us on how to make a character memorable?
Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.