How Do You Create Characters That Leave A Lasting Impression?

When you call yourself a writer, whether you are published or unpublished, creating memorable characters and a good story is really the point, isn’t it? So how do you do that? Let’s take a step back for a moment.

If you’ve read any of my posts before, I’ve consistently said, as many other writers have said, that if you are a writer, you must read. It is not to plagiarize but rather to emulate. Take for instance one of the authors that I’m a fan of: Shiloh Walker. I love Shiloh. I love the characters, both female and male. Her characters leave an impression so much so that I want to be updated about what is going on in their land of Oz. The talent that she possesses in fleshing out a character so that a reader can picture her or him and describe their emotional journey through action, inaction, body language and internal dialogue deserves my accolades.

I think of the characters in my own story, Better Than 8 Fantasy . Leave a trail of bread crumbs. (Yes, I’m making reference to Hansel and Gretel). If you have a series that you’re writing, this (leaving a trail of bread crumbs)  is a perfect opportunity to do that.  Readers (I’m speaking from my own experience) both love it and hate it when authors suggest something in a story and leave it unanswered until the next book. Bread crumbs leave the reader pondering reasons why a character does something or leaves them trying to figure out the characters’ modus operandi. The fascination is compounded when writers are vague or give you that “keep reading” commentary. JR Ward graduated with honors from that school of interview technique and writing style.

Have you realized yet that this is apart of hooking an audience? Don’t worry. We’ll talk about it a bit more a little later. So, did you see how to do it?

  • Create strong characters with descriptive words, body language, and internal dialogue
  • Key your audience into what the character is thinking and feeling
  • Remember to show and not tell (sometimes a hard balance but keep at it)
  • Inaction just like silence speaks volumes sometimes
  • Don’t reveal everything at one time, save some for later
  • If your characters go through emotional upheavals make sure you take the reader with you. Make them feel empathetic to your characters’ plight.
  • Make sure you give readers a little HEA (happily ever after). Readers don’t like to be taken on emotional journey’s where they feel like they bleed for the character and then he never gets a slice of happiness for it. They may stay with you for a bit but if you draw this out indefinitely, your readers will get tired of being gutted…and remember your stories for the wrong reasons.

What were some of the most memorable characters to you? What story and what author? What made them memorable to you?

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pandora Poikilos
    Jun 10, 2011 @ 07:25:22

    Hi there! You’ve been added to my Blog-A-Licious library! Do keep your great posts coming! And do have a peep at the other Blog-A-Licious Blogs.
    Cheers – Dora


  2. Arlee Bird
    Jun 21, 2011 @ 15:08:19

    As they say in show business “Always leave the audience wanting more”. If everything is neatly resolved, the reader may not be as compelled to come back for more.

    I’ve been blogging about favorite books and a favorite author (Flannery O’Connor) over the past couple weeks. Huckleberry Finn is very memorable to me because of his story and the wise insight he displays even though he is uneducated and young.

    Flannery O’Connor’s characters are so vividly drawn and bizarre in character that they are difficult to forget.

    Tossing It Out


  3. tillyslaton
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 12:56:44

    I have just found your blog … 🙂

    It is always nice to smile my way through the morning .. Finding new bloggers and fellow writers is inspiring. Love your blog .. I am looking forward to more posts and information!


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