Friday, October 30, 2009

Creating memorable characters

Ever since I started writing, I have been on a mission. To create memorable, believable characters that are brave and confident. Now they might not be brave throughout the entire story. They may become this way from being in the story, but they always end up bold. I want my readers to
1. identify with my characters
2. remember my characters long after they've read the story
3. believe that my characters are who the book says they are.

As a child when I read a great book I usually either dreamed I was the character I was reading about, or I wanted to be the character I was reading about.

This is what I'm striving for in my writing. If I can do this, I will have achieved what I set out to do. My characters will be memorable, believable, brave and confident. What say you? :)

17 comments:

  1. I try to write memorable characters, but also characters I can connect/relat to on a deeper level.

    Sometimes, that's not so easy, other times it's a bit easier.

    I want the readers to watch the progression of a character, from beginning to end, and notice the growth of the character. I want them to care about the growth of the character.

    Great post, my friend.

    S

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  2. Scott, a lot of times it's not so easy. I want my readers to care about my characters too. Love your comment, my friend. :)

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  3. I love character-driven stories. I'm glad you think that way. Can't wait to read one of your MCs one day!!

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  4. Great post Robyn! If I cannot identify with my characters as the writer and ache with them, cheer, cry I cannot expect my reader to.

    They want stories that speak to their lives, meet characters that resemble themselves.

    It is all part of the magic.

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  5. Same here, Robyn. The books that stay with me are the ones in which I can identify with or at least aspire to be like. I want the same thing for my writing.

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  6. I need to focus more on character development myself. Great list.

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  7. My concept of what a character should be is in the middle of a change right now. In the past, many of my characters have been people I've wanted to understand better. I didn't want to be them, but I wanted to sympathize with them. But, as a result of writing about people like this, I think I ended up creating people that readers didn't necessarily want to be in the same room with. Now, I'm trying to figure out if I should focus on more likable characters or if I shoudl pursue my original intentions and hope that anyone cares.

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  8. I particularly agree with number two. I really, really want readers to remember my characters long after the book is over. I become so close to my characters as I'm planning and writing a book I hope that same enthusiasm and feeling is instilled in the reader. Have a great weekend!

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  9. Robyn - it's definitely not easy. My main clue that it's working - if I like the characters I'm supposed to like, and dislike the ones I'm supposed to like in my own writing, well, I've done my job as a writer. If I'm going 'huh' quite a bit, I know I need some work. Also, getting the perspective of others about the characters often helps.

    S

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  10. I'm so glad that characters are such a strong part of the story we tell. I want my readers to also identify with my characters. Although, I try to make them pretty raw, to show growth. To show a different side of people, also, I think is a lot of fun.

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  11. It is always an amazing moment when people in crit group talk about characters as though they are real. Or tell you they've been thinking about them. It may be the most important thing we do as storytellers.

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  12. Most definitely! Characters are what makes the book a part of your life.

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  13. I think all three are important.

    I'll just add that I want my readers to feel what my characters are feeling.

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  14. I'm really working on my characters on my current WIP. And the good news is, it's helping!
    Hope all is going great with your writing!

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  15. Characters draw me into the story. Sometimes even the most peripheral character can add an unexpected dimension to a scene or exchange between principal characters. I also enjoy stories (Virgina Woolf) who show just fragments of characters. Interesting for the reader to try to puzzle it all together.

    Thanks for visiting my blog! You have a wonderful blog here :)

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  16. Hmmm. In my last novel I disliked one of my characters intensely. I found her story the hardest to write. Interestingly, though, several people have commented that that particualr character was their favourite, the one they could most connect to! Go figure! :/

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