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Write to Done‘s John Yeoman gives us tips on how to take a character to the next level and give them added depth.
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How To Create Memorable Characters: 8 Little-Known Sleights of Hand
by: John Yeoma
Do we always have to create memorable characters?
It depends on the genre.
In an all-action thriller focused on pace and plot, everyone but the key players can be wafer-thin. They’re disposable.
The same is often true of detective fiction, even the quality sort. In John Dickson Carr’s famous ‘locked room’ mysteries, the only rounded character is the sleuth, Gideon Fell, and he’s larger than life. All the other players are pawns on a chessboard.
But what if we do want to bring our characters alive–make them colorful?
Here are eight tips that will help you to create memorable characters.
1. Use Character Labels
Do we remember characters who are introduced with a bald description?
‘He was a short man, stubby, with a protruding chin.‘
So why mention those details at all, unless they’re important to the story?
Because we can use them later as labels.
‘His face appeared at my elbow‘; ‘The stubby man entered‘; ‘He poked his long chin at me.’
And so on.
However, characters who are identified by labels alone have no personality. That’s just as well if they quickly vanish from the tale or meet a nasty end.
But what of the others?
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