Anne Cleeland has some great tips on how to create memorable characters.
One of the things I love about writing fiction is how much I learn about life as I work to improve my craft. For instance, at the April meeting of the Orange County chapter of Sisters in Crime, mystery writer Anne Cleeland gave us tips on how to create memorable characters for our stories. I wrote an article about it for writers on Lit Central OC.
For my blog, I thought I’d take a look at the same character tips and how we can apply them to becoming memorable characters ourselves. Here’s my snippet of encouragement.
Tip 1: First drafts can contain characters that are two dimensional place holders, but on second and third drafts turn them into people.
Real world application: It takes time to get to know people and time for them to get to know you. I’ve been prone to make snap judgments. I need to give the characters I meet through work, church, writing groups, and friends a chance to become real people before assuming I know who they are.
Tip 2: Your reader is a baby duckling.
Real world application: People get attached to sympathetic characters, so be one! The more kind, thoughtful, cute, or funny I am the better chance I’ll find an entourage.
Tip 3: Avoid character clichés.
Real world application: Don’t be afraid of being unique or playing in the same park as unusual characters. Trying to fit in may be the national pastime of teenagers, but by the time we become adults we should be over it.
Tip 4: Make your characters “root-able.”
Real world application: Most people like to see others succeed. Give them a chance to root for you. I’ve had to learn to let others see my imperfections, my failures and my attempts. Honesty attracts cheerleaders.
Any tips you’d like to add?
Duck picture courtesy of Berit Watkin at Flickr.com