Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Ways to make your characters memorable.
Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…
Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.
One of my weaknesses is characterization, so please don’t think that I think that I actually FOLLOW all of these suggestions. However, many of my Tuesday Tips, as I’ve mentioned, are things I need to work on myself. This is one of them.
Remember, characters to not only have to be likable, they have to be real, relatable, and memorable. And, please, please, do not make them perfect. Do you know any perfect people? Do you know those who THINK they are perfect? How irritating are they? See, you don’t want your characters to irritate your readers. 🙂
A few ways to create characters readers will want to hang out with:
- Have a character do something. Don’t just let them sit around waiting for things to happen to them, have them make things happen. This is something I often fail at, but I am working to improve.
- Characters should do the unexpected. Especially in the beginning. If you want readers to connect with your character and your story, you need to surprise and intrigue them. Although it’s one of my older books, I loved writing the opening scene of Heart of the Witch. The story opened in the POV of a serial killer who had a victim in his clutches. I’ve read tons of books like this, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them. But, with mine, I decided to change things up a bit. My killer was being all twisted and threatening and delighting in what he was about to do. However, the tables turned on him when his ‘victim’ used her witchy powers to set his genitals on fire. As it turned out, she was the heroine of the story.
- A symbol/trait/catch phrase/habit/object, etc, or any combination thereof (but don’t go overboard). Give your character something tangible and something intangible to make them more vivid and ‘real.’ Who can think of Scarlett O’Hara without thinking of ‘Fiddle dee-dee!’ and Tara?
- Give your character contradictions. For example, in my Isle of Fangs series, I have a vampire hunter who is afraid of blood. That allows for some interesting (I hope) conflict.
- Have them want something different from what they need. In Devil’s Promenade, Camille wants to prove the spook light legend to be false for the book she’s writing, but she needs to believe in the supernatural, so she can help a ghost find closure.
So…what do you think? Do you have some character creating tips to share with us?
Until next time…Happy Writing!
Get your two-minute tips all in one handy reference guide:
(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)
*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible.
How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.
Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.
Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!
*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)
Amazon: Click Here
12 responses to “Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – Creating Characters that Resonate”
I like to give my characters quirks or unusual physical attributes. For example, a child character’s nose is sprinkled with freckles which appear to jump around when he gets excited. An evil perp can sport a throbbing vein in his forehead when he is calculating mischief. Thanks for another helpful post!
Yes, excellent ideas. You’re welcome…thank you!
Make the character do something they always said they’d never do. What a dilemma. The key is motivation. Good tips as always, Alicia.
That’s always a good tip, Diane. Thank you!
I don’t know when you find the time to share such great tips, Alicia! Thanks so much!
Ha, that’s why I just share ‘Two Minute’ tips – ‘Nobody got time for that!’ 🙂
I like following these tips from an editor. They are always interesting and I get an aha moment usually.
Thank you, Linda. I’m so glad you like them!
Great ideas! I saved this to refer to when I’m writing future works. Thank you for sharing! I always look forward to these posts. I learn something useful in the little snatches of time I have available, without having to carve out a period of time to do so. Thumbs up!
Thank you for your support of the blog. I have to learn in little snatches of time too. Life is just too busy! 🙂
That is such a great tip–have your characters do something! I have been revising my WIPs and noticed my heroine reacting and just letting life mover her and have had to go back and change that! It’s a good reminder. I think I’ll go look at my current WIPs and see if I’m letting my heroines be tossed about again! Thank you, Alicia
You’re welcome, Kimberly. I agree. I often have my heroines waiting for something to happen, then reacting. Most of my tips are because I needed the reminder myself. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!