This week’s video provides an easy way to bring instant added interest to any character.
As much as we may love our own characters, there’s never any guarantee that readers will love them just as much. Think about it. There are so many awesome characters, in both film and literature, clamoring for people’s attention and affection. How do you make yours rise above the pack into memorability? This,of course, is a question with many answers. Creating magnificent characters will be a lifelong pursuit for most of us. But today I’m going to tell you a simple trick for making your characters pop.
All you gotta do is add a contrasting detail or two to your character. What I’m talking about is totally a surface thing. It’s not about creating deep inner conflict or cognitive dissonance within the character—although that’s fine too. What this is about is finding a simple, but dramatic detail that raises your character above the possibility of his becoming a black-and-white cliché. It’s all as simple as giving your character one trait that, on the surface, doesn’t seem to jive with who he really is.
Maybe the serial killer decorates her house with pink flowers and hearts. A lonely assassin might lovingly care for his Chinese evergreen. Or your grease-under-her-fingernails female mechanic could really be a girly-girl at heart, instead of a tomboy.
These are all tiny little touches that raise these characters out of their stereotypes and into memorability.
More than that, these characters suddenly become much “muchier” by giving their authors so many more angles to play around with. These contrasts need to arise organically from plausible character motivations. You can’t just slap a punk hairdo on a mild-mannered farm girl without some kind of explanation. But don’t be afraid to have fun with this. The possibilities are endless—and so is the potential for delighting readers.