Tag Archives: Protagonist

6 Ways to Make Your Characters Memorable and Enticing

“6 Ways to Make Your Characters Memorable and Enticing” by Joan Y. Edwards

Will Readers Remember Your Character Tomorrow? Why? What is it about them that is so memorable? Why do you remember certain people you’ve met in your lifetime? I think these are the same reasons people remember characters. You remember people because of something they did for you or the way you felt when you were with them. You remember people because of their ability to do things you would like to do. You remember them because of the risk and sacrifice they took to reach a goal.  You remember people you would like to know better.

As a writer, you want readers, editors, and agents to want to know your characters better. As a matter of fact, you want them obsessed with the desire to know your characters better. You want them to yearn with every part of their being to do what ever it takes to get a copy of our book to find out more about this character.  You want to put your characters in a situations and give them traits that make readers addicted to them and your writing. You want these characters to entice readers into your books. How do you do that? Here are six ways:

6 Ways to Make Your Characters Memorable and Enticing

1. Give him one really big flaw:

A big nose like Jimmy Durante

Extremely tall and powerful like Paul Bunyan

Very short like the seven little dwarfs

Really fat like the fat lady at the circus

Extremely thin like Ichabod Crane

Totally dishonest like the main character, Fletcher Reed, in the movie Liar Liar.

No tact like Mr. Hart, the Boss in 9 to 5

Unusually afraid of something

2.Make him do something surprising, perhaps the opposite of what you’d expect:

Run for president, a job that requires organization and calmness under stress, when this character is disorganized and panics under stress

Save someone from drowning when he has never been able to swim before

Won’t kill an ant, but doesn’t bat an eye when he kills poisonous snakes

Make him want something that no one in his shoes can possibly get unless he CHANGES; If he’s always run away from something out of fear, make it where he can’t avoid it any longer. Stop him and make him face this situation head on.

Apply for a job to clean houses when his house is a dump.

3. Make his clothing or apparel stand out:

Like the old raincoat that Columbo wore

Like the books, Fancy Nancy or Pinkilicious.

The Hulk, Superman, Spiderman, Star Wars Storm Troopers


4. Make his mode of transportation stand out


Old car

New car every year


Never drives a car




5. Interrupt or destroy the routine that keeps your character well-balanced

Mr. Rogers always did the same thing at the beginning of his show and at the end of his show. Suppose the directors of the show knocked that off…what would happen…would Mr. Rogers quit or would he forge ahead to build a new pattern he could deal with.

Show the incident, event, happening, or experience that interrupts or threatens to destroy the routine that keeps your main character at peace inside. Show his struggle within himself and with everyone and everything around him to get back to normal  or to discover that he can live in this different world.

6. Make him likable, in other words, give reasons for people to care about him.

Put him in a situation where your readers empathize with him. They have felt the same way, perhaps in a different situation, but the same feelings…the same emotions. They think: “What would I do if I were in his place?”

When bad things happen to your character, readers think:

“Oh my goodness.”

“That is awful.”

“He got himself in a real mess.”

“What will he do?”

“What would I do if I were in his shoes?

“How can he avoid what he’s afraid of?”

“What if it turns out even worse than he feared?

“Uh oh! Now he’s in really big trouble!”

“What’s he going to do?”

“But, he has no Plan B.”

“Will he make it?”

“My life is so much better than his. Thank goodness.”

When good things happen to the character

“I’d like to experience that.”

“People never treat me like that. He was really lucky.

“I wish people would show their love for me that way.”


If you add these dimensions to your main character, readers will remember him in their hearts forever. He will be unforgettable. You can count on it.

References that you might enjoy reading:

  1. Beth Hill. The Editor’s Blog.  “Don’t Write the Bland and Boring:” http://theeditorsblog.net/2011/05/02/dont-write-the-bland-and-the-boring/
  2. Glen C. Strathy. “How to Create Characters That Are Believable and Memorable:” http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/create-characters.html
  3. Lee Masterson. “Creating Memorable Characters:http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/characters.shtml
  4. Linda Seger. Creating Unforgettable Characters: http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Unforgettable-Characters-Linda-Seger/dp/0805011714/
  5. Steve Aitchison. “How to Be Memorable:” http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk/blog/how-to-be-memorable/

Thank you for reading my blog. It is fun to have you here with me. I hope you had fun, too.


Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

Know Your Main Character

“Know Your Main Character” by Joan Y. Edwards

I believe it’s a good idea to know your main character well.

1. Perhaps you’d know the answer to these questions about your main character:

What kind of schedule does your main character follow?
What are his favorite foods?
What foods does he detest?
Does he eat healthy?
Does he drink alcoholic beverages?
Where did he go to high school?
Did he graduate from college?
What is the relationship with his parents? grandparents?
What is he deathly afraid of?
What is he proud of?
What kind of clothing does he wear to work? for fun? to bed?
What would your parents think of this character?
What does he do really well?
What skill is his very worst?
What are his three worst habits?

Here are three websites with other good interview questions and ideas.

2. Cut out magazine pictures that you believe might look like them.

3. Write out a weekly journal pretending you are the character.

4. Ask the character questions in a letter. Have the character answer the questions in a letter. You can email them to yourself.

5. Give the character 3 props from his past. Ask him to tell you the story behind why they are significant to him.

6. If you see an actor that would fit the description of your character, rent a movie he acts in and pick up a quirky habit or two, or describe how they walk.

It’s fun to create a new character. These are only a few ideas to get you started or to add dimension to a character whose story you’ve already written.  Good luck in your ventures to add life and reality to your characters.

Enjoy yourself. Life is a precious gift.

Thanks for reading my blog. Please comment telling me what you believe writers should know about their main character.

Put a Positive Spin on Your Writing Life
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright 2012 © Joan Y. Edwards