Friday, October 11, 2013


Anne Greene here. 

I’m assuming you, the writer has already filled out a character chart. So we’ll progress from there. 

Besides height, weight and description, there’s a whole dimension to a character that seeps through his skin and into the heart of a reader.  

Characters hide things-that makes them intriguing. They have much going on below the surface which erupts when they say inappropriate things or do things that don’t coordinate with what is expected.  

But for characters to behave in unexpected ways, the writer must peel back his layers and use a microscope to discover what makes him breathe. 

Writers must know their characters inside and out. Brainstorm the characters. Discover their internal and external motivations and goals. It even helps to base a character on someone you know. 

Unforgettable characters have intense motivation—the why a character does what he or she does. 

And characters don’t stand up to be counted unless there is conflict for them to overcome. The writer needs to use conflict to weasel out the character’s innermost secrets.

Give your character a specific quirk, weakness or strength. Give your character a personality trait and then reveal that trait throughout the story.  

Listen to your character’s voice. How is it different from every other character’s voice?  

Release your character and watch what he does just as if he’s starring in a movie. Let the character take over the scene and then enhance on what the character did. 

Push the boundaries. If your character is heroic, make him super-heroic. If he takes risks, make him take awe-inspiring risks. If she’s generous make her philanthropic. You get the idea. Make your characters bigger than life. And give them a heart to fit their stature.  

Make your character face his worst fear. Of course to do that, the author must know the character’s worst fear. 

Force your character to do something he vowed never to do. How does he react? 

Delve deep inside your character, expose his quirks, make him face his fears, listen to and watch him, show his motivation, push his boundaries, and then give his reaction. 

Your character should be as real to you as the man or woman you love. Then he’ll join the ranks of the character you most remember. 

Who is the fictional character you most remember? Please leave a comment for a chance to win a critique of your first chapter.


  1. Love these tips, Anne! One of the most memorable fiction characters, for me, is Hadassah from the Mark of the Lion Series. She had a larger-than-life love for God, and faced her worst fear--death in the Roman arena.

  2. Katelyn is one of my favorite characters. She discovered something about herself she'd buried during the black moment. She thought she was mad at the hero for one thing but it turns out something else hurt her worse.

    I'd love to be entered in the contest.

    Thanks for all the tips you share with us.

    1. Interesting choice, Jackie! Good to see you here.

  3. Love your writing class! Always memorable!
    I love Scarlet O'Hara because of her determination to survive. Nothing could stand in the way of her goal.

  4. Hi Lana, So very happy to see you here. I agree. Scarlet is one of my favorite heroines as well. Perhaps she is also my favorite.

  5. Jackie, you won a chapter critique. Please email your chapter to I'll be happy to give your first chapter a critique. Congratulations.