What makes a character memorable? What makes one stick in the minds of readers for years, while others are easily forgotten after turning the last page?
Characters in bestsellers share common traits, patterns of who they are and what they do that lift them out of the fictional crowd.
I have listed the most potent of these traits below. How many do the main characters in your current story posses?
- Unique Appearance
- Unique past or background
- Unique passion or obsession
- Unique profession or hobby
- Unique perspective
- Unique flaw
- Unique talent
- Unique goal
- Unique inner conflict
Generally speaking, the more of these traits your characters posses, the more memorable they become. One powerful trait is enough to carry a character and a story, but consider giving your character at least three.
After the protagonist, the antagonist is the second most important character to imbue with these memorable traits. Secondary characters can also benefit from them.
There is no perfect “mix” of these traits. Each story and each character are, themselves, unique.
What other traits have you used to make your characters more memorable?
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