Saturday, December 16, 2017

What Makes a Character Memorable by Victoria Chatham

So here we are in our last Round Robin topic for 2017. How did December come around so fast? It’s almost as if the year went by in a blur before my eyes. We’ve had some really interesting topics and a variety of views on them. Our final post for this year is what makes a character memorable?

For me, it has always been about how a character’s flaws shape them. In the first of Marie Force’s Gansett Island series, it’s Mac and Maddie’s vulnerabilities that shape them. In Georgette Heyer’s Regency romp Frederica, it’s her determination to find a suitable match for her sister that drives her to deal with several setbacks.

Our characters are not perfect, nor should they be. In building a character we need more than the color of their hair and eyes, their height and build, and their origins. We need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they build on the one and overcome the other. We need to know their greatest fears and what caused these fears in order for them to grow and change, challenge themselves to feats of extraordinary courage or deal with the realization of their failures.

We have to uncover the humanity in them and then expand that on the page. Watching movies is a great way to understand how to build your characters. You only have to look at the Star Wars movies, or Elle in Legally Blonde, or any of the characters in The Holiday. We see the changes in them with each beat of the movie. We feel for them, laugh or cry with them and hopefully, we can imbue our own characters with that same depth of realism.   

Victoria Chatham
Marci Baun
Dr. Bob Rich
Beverley Bateman
A.J. Maguire
Anne Stenhouse 
Rhobin L Courtright