How To Write Memorable Characters

Shutterstock / Dave Rheaume Artist © characters

The “Friend” is known for its strong characters, and character-driven storylines.

So how do you go about writing impactful characters that the reader cares about? When you think of famous fictional ones, they seep life from their descriptions, dialogues and gestures.

One who springs to mind is Charles Dickens’s famous old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, in “A Christmas Carol.”

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.”

However, you don’t have to write like Dickens to bring characters to life. Here are a few things to bear in mind when writing for the “Friend”.

Emotion in motion

Give your characters beating hearts.

It’s no use highlighting their desires and goals if you don’t show at first-hand how much this means to them.

Bring them to life through what they say, feel and how they act. If you want the reader to care about your characters, make your heroes and heroines human.

What’s the objective?

We often cite on the Fiction team that characters can be passive in how they are portrayed on the page.

They react to situations and circumstances around them rather than being the catalyst in which the plot develops.

Therefore, make your characters proactive; whether they achieve what they set out to do or not, as the case may be.

Little things matter

I love Dickens’s description of Scrooge, especially the line “solitary as an oyster”.

It conjures up images of someone who is content to live his life shutoff from the outside world. So, imagine what your characters look like, their body language and behaviours.

It’s not as vital describing someone’s tight-fisted nature as it is capturing such behaviour through character development.

Someone who loves to eat in fancy restaurants, but who also has a tendency to forget his wallet, will surely possess unmistakeable, lively traits.

For more writing advice from “The People’s Friend”, click here.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.