Your story could have incredible twists and turns, leaving the audience wondering what’s next! But, unfortunately, if the characters are average – then they won’t care too much for the story, unfortunately.
If the characters bland, predictable or just plain dull, then you’ll lose the reader. You want your character to pop off of the page! You want them to be so intriguing that the reader wants more; hell, that’s how you sell your screenplay.
Make the producer look at your script, see a captivating script title and an amazing logline – they’ll pick it up no problem.
Then they’ll read the first paragraph and BAM! Your protagonist catches their eye immediately! Why are they so interesting? Why are they so relatable? That’s what captures the reader’s imagination, well rounded, exceptionally developed characters.
So, we decided to put together some top tips for writing these memorable characters, and they’re only a short scroll away!
Let’s check them out!
Top tips for writing memorable characters
Remember, if you want to get the buy-in from your audience, you must carefully craft relatable characters. We will help you craft some incredible characters throughout these tips and develop your craft in minutes.
Here are the top tips to ensure you write memorable characters.
Show the audience what your character wants.
Yep, another show, don’t tell scenario. Don’t worry, we will break it down for you.
This is where you want the characters actions to show the desire, rather than them actually tell the audience.
For instance, if your character is insanely jealous of their best friend. Don’t say, “oh, I’m so jealous; this guy is an absolute dick”. Show it. What do you do if you’re jealous?
Some people start to make comments behind peoples backs? Others may do vindictive acts, and some don’t do anything; they might go home and weep.
Whatever it is, try to get the action nailed on and the behaviour – the emotions follow, and the audience picks up on how the characters feeling.
This way, the character becomes more “real”. The audience understands the feeling and actually can feel the emotion.
The character makes the decisions.
Let your characters make decisions, don’t force them to make decisions or tell them. Let them use their own emotions to make the decisions, as stories that are driven by the character are far more exciting.
They’re more relatable (You’re going to hear that a lot throughout) to the reader/audience. You never know exactly where the stories going, the twist and the turns, and that’s what you need is a consumer of film.
You need exciting stories, unpredictability, and, most of all, interesting characters.
Create a flawed character
We all have flaws, some large flaws, other ones, a little more subtle. But no one is perfect. So why should your main character be?
Flaws in your character are brilliant. Why? Because it adds to the action, the unpredictability and most of all, the fun!
There’s nothing worse than sitting down and knowing where the story starts, what the characters are going to do, and ultimately, how the story will end.
Give the character goals.
Make sure you give your character both internal and external goals.
An internal goal is a goal that a character needs to achieve in order to reach their external goal. An example is a character who wants to be the best footballer of all time. To achieve that, he needs to spend more time on the practice field and less time at parties.
The external goal is a goal that is something tangible; going by the above example, this would be the character who wants to be the best footballer of all time. They want to win the world cup and Balon D’or.
These goals define your character a little more and help them become relatable to the reader. All walks of life have goals, so why shouldn’t your character? It makes the story interesting m and gives the character a purpose.
Define their role
Define your character’s role. What is their role in the screenplay?
What is the role of the character in the screenplay? Are they playing a side-kick, or could they be the protagonist? Define the initial role first in order to grow your character.
You may also like: Visual Screenwriting: How to write CAPTIVATING visuals
Establish your character’s appearance
Establishing your character’s appearance is essential. It holds a lot of weight to defining them as a person and helping the reader create a picture of who they are.
For example, if they’re a down-and-out type of character, you wouldn’t expect them dressing like James Bond.
They’ll look a little rough around the edges. Give them unkempt hair, bushy beards, some scruffy clothes – add to the persona of the character.
It’s worth looking into their interests and how these could affect the way they look. A great way to get started at developing your character further is using our character development template.
Create their personality
Develop your character’s personality. It’s more than likes and dislikes, it’s what they find funny, what they enjoy eating, even to the point of their favourite colour. This will help you shape your character and delve into their mind.
These small things in fact help you develop your character further than you can imagine; a fully dimensional character will help develop a captivating story arc. The smallest of features or mannerisms are the key to developing a unique and intricate character.
This links perfectly to the above point. What is your characters view of the world? What are their beliefs? Everyone has a set view of the world, and that’s the same for your character too.
Even add into the equation whether or not they have beliefs and views that are growing as they learn, or are they pretty narrow-minded?
Look at your characters’ family, beliefs, education, upbringing, friends, and many more intricacies that help shape their view of the world.
Make your character relatable.
We’ve mentioned it previously in the point around flawed characters. But, it’s so important we gave “relatability” it’s own heading. You must make your character relatable.
It doesn’t mean they have to be likeable, but you need to establish relatability with the audience. Why are they relatable? How do you make an evil character relatable?
You could establish hurt or fear as to why a character becomes evil in a scene. The reader can relate to the feeling but not the action, enabling them to understand the antagonist’s feeling.
Try to humanise your character; even superheroes can be humanised by a small attribute or feeling.
What do they love?
What does your character love? Defining what they love is crucial. What you love is usually what you’ll do anything for; you’ll fight to the bitter end for what you believe in and what you love.
So, define what your character loves. For instance, if there’s fear that what your character loves will be taken away, they’ll act upon this in an emotionally charged way, powered by raw emotion and desire.
This can help your character achieve their goal or overcome an obstacle. Or it could be your character’s flaw. They make emotionally powered decisions and don’t think logically.
There’s a lot you can do with emotion, so establish what your character loves.
What are their interests?
Your protagonist’s interest is key to developing a memorable character. Their interests help you mould your character and add personality. They also help you develop your protagonists wants and needs.
Their wants and needs can often be linked to their goals.
You add realism to the character, allowing the audience to connect with your character making them relatable.
Make it difficult
It’s no fun watching a movie when your protagonist breezes through the story. You need to throw in curve balls here and there to keep the story interesting for your audience.
Most people go day to day living a pretty average and mundane life. So, they don’t want to bowl up to the cinema and witness their lives replayed over to them. They want emotion, they want excitement, and they want frustration.
This will create multiple twists and turns, keeping the audience engaged and wanting more.
Establish their wants, establish their needs, put blockers every single day. Make them jump through crazy hoops to get there. Maybe even let the character get so close to their cool they can smell it, then snatch from right under their noses.
The audience loves this; they feel the emotion and get onboard with your character rooting for them to achieve the impossible!
Showcase your characters emotional range. Everyone feels emotion, and your characters must feel the emotion as well.
Showcase to your audience what your character loves, what they hate, what makes them laugh and what makes them frustrated. Give the audience a 360 view of your character’s emotions and deliver well-rounded, emotionally available characters.
This may also be of interest to you: Visual Screenwriting: How to write CAPTIVATING visuals
If you want your audience to connect with your character early on, create some form of sympathy.
Why you ask? Well, people are able to sympathise with someone going through an unfortunate event or a bad time. It’s one of the empathetic features most humans are able to tap into.
Even with your antagonist, create a form of sympathy. Although the audience will want to be rooting against the antagonist, they’ll want to connect with them. Give them a reason to understand why the antagonist is behaving that way and create a form of sympathy to allow them to connect.
Sympathy is powerful; make sure you use it!
Finally, what is their story?
Define it. Use the points above to help you define your story and, most importantly, define your characters.
Defining your character, it will allow you to craft a story that uses multi-dimensional characters your audience can relate too and follow. Building their personalities out can make the story unpredictable and interesting.
With the audience gripped on the twist and turns in your character’s adventures.
Make sure to define your story and characters, and you’ll have an exhilarating plot in no time for your next project.
There we are; we’re at the end of the article. We hope these tips, tricks and ideas will help you create memorable characters within your story.
Writing interesting and memorable characters takes time to master, but you’ll get there. Ensure you drill down into their personalities, look at ways to connect with your audience, and most importantly, define their goals.
Let us know your thoughts down in the comments, and scroll down below for more character-based resources.
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