Just as a visual environment helps to transport the reader into the book, so does the creation of strong and indelible characters.
Characters are the backbone of any novel and serve as the driving force behind the plot. By constructing vibrant, memorable characters, authors are able to hook readers and make them feel as though they, themselves, have relationships with these fictitious individuals.
The best way to cultivate riveting and effective characters is to build a character outline. A character outline allows the author to map out important features of a character that they can use for embellishments as they begin to write.
Take a minute to think of a favorite novel; what makes it a favorite? Chances are the first thing to come to mind was the main character, this is because the author of the book took the time to fabricate each detail of the character, making them easy to connect with, and hard to forget.
Here are 7 tips for generating unforgettable characters:
1. Character Appearance – With any book, the physical appearance of a character will always be the objective of whoever is reading it. Even with that fact in mind, there is still great importance in providing physical detail to a character. Deciding if a character is tall and lanky, male or female, and if there is a particular way they dress, provides the reader with a sense of who this character is, but also gives them the liberty to expand upon the character as they please.
2. Character History –Building the history of a character is crucial to any successful story. Where are they from? What have they seen? Do they have specific beliefs? These pieces of information help to govern the type of character being developed and can act as supporting facts for why the character behaves a certain way.
3. Character Voice – To give a character a persona, an author must supply them with their very own voice. Creating a voice is done when the author determines the character’s intelligence, age, vocabulary, and highlights any particular accents or inflections the individual may have when speaking.
4. Character Purpose – Why is the character in the story? Is their role important to the plot? What is the motivation behind the character’s actions? These questions are imperative in constructing a character’s purpose. Without purpose, a story simply cannot go on. Establishing answers to such questions is key in writing a triumphant novel.
5. Character Strengths/Weaknesses – No matter the person, real or fiction, every creature in existence has areas where it excels, and areas where it flounders. To build a successful character, authors must be mindful in picking these traits and skills, as they have a large hand in how a character develops throughout a story.
6. Character Relationships – Character relationships are a vital part in the movement of story-telling. In many books we see that the main character has a close friend or two, as well as one or two individuals in which they clash. Creating strong, meaningful, and ever evolving relationships helps to push the story along with every interaction.
7. Character Relatability – One of the biggest mistakes an author can make is not imparting a sense of relatability into a character. If a character is too perfect, or too vile a reader is unlikely to connect with them and more times than not give up on the book. Successful relatability comes in a character’s vulnerability, kindness, honesty, and virtues.
Memorable characters are imperative for any victorious book, but such characters can only be created though the time and detail an author pours into their work. By creating a character outline and focusing on key information such as appearance and relatability, any author can pull a reader in and take them on the journey of a lifetime.