Creating Memorable Characters

Developing a character is the most important element to writing a good story. You can have an interesting idea, with a workable plot. Then add conflict to move the story along. But without great believable (life like) characters, your story will lose the readers interest. You need to understand and know your characters as if they were a close friend or a member of your family. Taking the time to work up a character sheet will polish your writing.

You can begin with a few traits or a full detailed character sheet. The more you get to know your character, the better it will make a strong and interesting Hero and Heroine. It’s up to each writer how much she wants to know about secondary characters. It depends if those characters play more of a major role throughout the story.

My characters usually have a first and last name. I look for a picture to fit each character. Physical appearances such as the color of eyes, hair, color of their skin and body structure. Their likes and dislikes, what activities they enjoy. Back history lets the reader know where they have been in their past and what makes them do the things they do now.

Writing a character chart can be as in-depth as you want it to be. The point I want to make, is know your characters well. The more interesting and enthusiastic the character is, it will speak volumes making your story the best it can be.

There are many examples on the web for writing a character sheet, here are a few to get you started:
Using Character Sheets in Fiction Writing

How to write an Effective Character Sheet



Joan Vincent said...

Sharon, very good points. The first link has a comprehensive list of traits etc and the seond good reminders of what is important. The idea of updating throughout the writing of the book will let you see character development. After all if your character doesn't change there is a problem.

Roxann Delaney said...

Great points, Sharon! Getting to know my characters is something I have to do before even trying to write the first scene.

I don't use character sheets anymore, and I can't really explain how they form. It's a process that often goes on for months, and even sometimes changes!

One of my favorite places to jumpstart character traits is in the back of Elizabeth Sinclair's The Dreaded Synopsis. I use that book when I need a plotting push more than when writing a synopsis.

Pat Davids said...

thanks for the great link.

Reese Mobley said...

Great post, Sharon. Usually the first names of characters come to me first. After that, it's a free for all. They pick up quirks and I find I need to go back and add them to stuff I've previously written.

Sharon N said...

Joan I'm glad the links are helpfull. I've found the more I learn from research is a plus.

Sharon N said...

Rox, I forgot about Elizabeth Sinclair's character sheet. Thank you for sharing.

Sharon N said...

Pat, your characters in your books are well developed. Thanks for stopping by.

Sharon N said...

Theresa, our characters keep us on our toes. Thanks for stopping by.

Starla Kaye said...

Good points, Sharon. I usually have my book title and characters names before I have a plot line. I had a little more trouble on both counts for this new book I'm working on. I normally write mainly contemporaries and characterization, etc. is so easy with them. But this new book is a medieval, so it took a lot more research.

I generally use very, very basic character contrast charts when I write contemporaries and just add notes as I learn things from the characters. But, again, writing historicals is so much more complex. I've got seriously detailed character descriptions and background for this book. After all this research, I think I'll try to write several medievals.

Again, good post.

Penny Rader said...

Thanks for the links, Sharon! I like to have charts so I can keep track of what I've written. And you never know...that hobby you give a character just might play an important role later in the story.

Sharon N said...

Testing a new email addr.