Creating Memorable Characters

25 Feb

003Good morning to you all!  I am very happy that someone took me up on my offer to guest blog.  Let me introduce you to Jennifer Arnett, who was so kind to do my work for me. J  The following is from Jennifer.  Oh, and Jennifer….you didn’t leave me a link…give me one and I’ll post it here so others can follow you.


“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”  Winston Churchill


Do you ever think about the evil people of the world and what they were like as children?  Hitler was once a little two year old who needed a diaper change.   He probably shared his toys with the neighborhood kids.  He probably cried when he skinned his knee.  How then do you think he became the man he was?  What process corrupts the soul to a point of no return?  How does a boy turn into a monster?


As a writer you will be tempted to project yourself into your characters.  This can be positive, in that it creates an emotional bond between you and the character.  However, putting too much of yourself into the story can corner your character and dissuade growth.

When creating a character, you define everything about them; their hopes, dreams, moral code, beliefs, relationships, fears, flaws, and tastes.  Great writing comes out of the desire to understand the human condition.  To create extraordinary characters, you must learn to see the world through opposing lenses.

Here is the challenge:  Craft a character that is exactly the opposite of who you are.  If you are a patient person, create the character to be impatient.  If you believe in a higher power, create a character that does not.  If you believe in a system of justice, create a character that is unjust and lawless.

This will not only help you to create interesting villains, but you will come to realize, that once you figure out what a character is not, you can chip away at who they are.



Again, thank you so much Jennifer.  The offer is open to any of you.  If you choose not to follow this format that is fine.  Whatever makes you comfortable. I would just like to see an exchange of ideas among writers, and this is one platform upon which we can do that.

Have a great week of writing.

Oh, one other thing….Sha gave me a heads up about a new offer from Amtrak…they will begin offering free writers’ residencies….ride free and write….sounds like a cool gig…here is an article on it.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

17 Responses to “Creating Memorable Characters”

  1. Janine Huldie February 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Yay for a a guest post lined up and can’t wait to read it now. Wishing you an amazing Tuesday now!! 🙂

    • Billybuc February 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      Thanks as always Janine!

  2. froggy213 February 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    A great post from Jennifer. Yes, trying for a new breed of characters can give our works a boost!

    • Billybuc February 25, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      Indeed it can, Greg…we always try for unique.

  3. Shauna L Bowling February 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    Great post, Jennifer! I like the idea of creating characters opposite of who we are. It’s natural to have our characters possess some of our own traits. I know I find myself doing this without realizing it. Your technique is especially helpful if authors plan on writing more than one book or even introducing new characters in sequels.

  4. Christy Birmingham February 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    Well done, Jennifer! And so nice of you Bill to give her a great platform here too! I am thinking now of the tip to make a character exactly the opposite of the writer – that could make for an interesting outcome in the story! Cool tip.

  5. Ruchira Khanna February 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    looking forward to this guest post and I am pondering hard on your thought of the day…what made hitler a monster…such nasty circumstances that a soul who i believe must have played with toys once…

    I agree with the character formation…gotta blend into them or else the reader will not get a feel of it…

    • Billybuc February 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by Christy!

  6. 1authorcygnetbrown February 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    Good stuff here! I looked at the Amtrak situation, and I have thought of a couple of ways that I could benefit from such a program (two trips I want to take in the next year). I am going to look into it further. I’ll let you all know what I discover.

    • Billybuc February 25, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      Ruchira, Donna, thank you both. I think that Amtrak thing really sounds cool.

  7. Audrey Howitt February 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    Such an interesting set of questions you raise today Bill–writing an evil person can be so difficult–and a challenge that I have yet to meet–

    • Billybuc February 25, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

      I have not done it either, Audrey, but I think I will in my next novel attempt.

  8. Kelly Umphenour February 26, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    Kudos to both of you! Great tip and the Amtrak special sounds pretty cool too:)

    • Billybuc February 26, 2014 at 12:20 am #

      Thanks Kelly! I’m going to look into that Amtrak thing….what a great little writing vacation that would be.

  9. Melanie Chisnall February 26, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Oh man, I wish I read this a few months ago. That was half my problem, writing characters that were too similar to me. This is great advice! And maybe one day when I do decide to try writing a novel again, things will be a little easier and more fun now that I know this. Thanks to you both! 🙂

    • Billybuc February 26, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      Mel, I’m excited to hear that you are going to write a non-fiction book…great news and I look forward to hearing more about it. Fiction is not for everyone; we need great nonfiction books as well.

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