The Beginner's Guide To Creating Memorable Characters

The Beginner’s Guide To Creating Memorable Characters

In this post, we give you a beginner’s guide to creating memorable characters.

Characterisation is important. We all want to create memorable characters when we write. We want the reader to think about them for years after they’ve finished reading our books. We do this by creating nuanced, three-dimensional people.

These characters are essential, because without them, we would not have novels. We would have essays. Memorable characters allow us to imagine, to think, and to rationalise. They allow us to experience their lives vicariously.

Our main characters control our book. A novel, which has of a plot, scenes, descriptions, and settings, cannot move forward without characters. As Lajos Egri wrote in The Art Of Dramatic Writing, a character is three-dimensional.

The Beginner’s Guide To Creating Memorable Characters

The three dimensions of characters are: 

  1. The Physiological
  2. The Sociological
  3. The Psychological

Before you start to write your book:

  1. Create a physiological biography for all of your main characters. This shows their basic features and functioning. Don’t leave anything out as you may have to cross-reference later. Include detailed physical descriptions.
  2. Create a sociological biography of your characters. This should show how they relate to their world. How have physical circumstances affected them? Were they born poor or rich? Were they well educated? Where did they grow up?
  3. Create a psychological biography for them. What happened in their past to define their psyches? Their feelings, moods, rationalisation and thought procedures are held here. Decide what the ruling passions of your main characters are and remember them. Life experiences shape and mould all of us. This provides motive and focus for your characters.

Then complete a character questionnaire.

Resource: If you are looking for character questionnaires, please have a look at these: 9 Useful Character Questionnaires For Writers

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this article, read:

  1. 7 Secrets To Writing Happy Characters Without Boring Your Audience
  2. 10 Things To Consider When Naming Characters
  3. Creating Larger-Than-Life Characters
  4. The 12 Most Basic Character Building Blocks
  5. How Your Characters’ To-Do Lists Can Help You Plot Your Book

If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

Posted on: 4th February 2013