How to Describe Memorable Characters
Have you ever tried to describe your characters only to realise that you’re writing the same thing over and over?
Or maybe none of your character descriptions really come to life.
You’re pages into your novel, or well into your short story, and you’re at the point where you need to describe the protagonist or other supporting characters. But somewhere in the description, you feel like you’ve used these features already.
Then you realise your protagonist is just as tall as the other guy, or maybe the supporting character has the same body shape as the other characters.
Now you’re asking yourself, “How come everyone in real life aren’t so similar as in my book?”
Well, truth is, many people in real life are similar. Most of us are average height, that’s why it’s called average. Many people have two hands and two feet, and wearing clothes is pretty common.
So how do you describe your characters so that they are memorable?
You describe the traits that are unique to them.
Think about it. When a friend comes to mind, or you recall that attractive woman from earlier, what are the traits that linger?
You may think about the unusually tall height, or maybe those long legs, or even that really dark skin.
Maybe the person has a nose that reminds you of a beak.
But how do you make one character stand out from the rest?
Make sure that no other character in your entire story has that feature you described.
That way, when you think about the character, and that trait comes to mind, the character maintains their uniqueness.
In my latest novel, King Larsen, I wanted the woman that my protagonist was fighting for to really stand out above everyone else. That’s why I gave her blonde hair, which is one of the rarest hair colours in the world, coming 2nd only to red. She is the only one in the entire novel that has blonde hair.
There are other traits I took advantage of, like Larsen being the only character who wears a brown cloak.
So if you find your character descriptions are getting repetitive, try only describing the traits that are unique to them and see if they become more memorable.
So what do you think about describing the unique traits of characters? Let me know in the comments. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to read The Grave Robber, this month’s trailer of my latest book, King Larsen.
Interested in receiving notifications for new articles? Subscribe to my weekly newsletter by emailing email@example.com