Five Tips for Creating Great Characters – Tim Harris

Hi WestWorders,

Working with great characters can make writing a whole bunch of fun. And who doesn’t like fun, right?

Having the right characters can also make or break a story. With awesome characters, the reader can get pulled headfirst into a story. Better strap that crash helmet on, reader!

Here are five tips to help you create memorable characters of your own.

  1. Choosing a name

Names can give the reader tiny clues about the type of character you are creating. For example, Mr Bambuckle is a quirky teacher. Mr Sternblast is extremely strict. Victoria Goldenhorn excels in all she does. Lawrence Sterling is a posh butler. Chip Radar is a computer hacker. Names can make an impression.

  1. Physical descriptions

A character’s appearance can also give the reader some clues about their personality. Perhaps your main character wears black because they like sneaking out at night. Maybe your character has curly hair because they have a curly imagination. Or perhaps your character’s eyes are the colour of the ocean because they love swimming.

  1. Strengths

What is your character good at? Whether it be patience, solving problems, magic, running, inventing or humour, giving your character strengths can help them navigate the problems in your story.

  1. Weaknesses

It can be tempting to make our characters perfect. But when we give our characters weaknesses, it can help increase tension when things don’t go their way. Imagine if your character had a fear of deep water and was stuck on a sinking ship. Or maybe your character is extremely ambitious and too often bites off more than they can chew.

  1. Mission

Make sure you give your character a mission. What do they want to achieve? What is their goal? With a mission, you will have strong direction with your story and the reader can cheer for your character as they leap into their adventure.

Do you have a favourite book character?

Tim

22 Comments

  1. luke

    hi

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Hi Luke,
      Thanks for popping by! Do you have a favourite book character?
      Tim

      Reply
      • luke

        hi Tim my fav book character is Alex rider

        Reply
        • Tim Harris

          Nice one, Luke. He is such a cool spy character!

          Reply
  2. Zoe

    hi my favourite book character is Mr Bambuckle or Friday Barnes OR Goldie Roth I can not choose

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Some great characters, Zoe. Friday Barnes is a clever cookie! And I like the sound of that Mr Bambuckle fella. 😉

      Reply
  3. Stephanie

    My favourite book character is Lord Voldemort because I like when he is always dramatic and always trying to do his goal (which is kill Harry Potter). My other favourite book character is Cedric Diggory because he is kind, honest, brave and true. But I cannot choose which character I like the best.

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Hi Stephanie,
      Harry Potter has so many great characters to choose from! I like your thinking. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Angela

    Hi, my favourite book characters are Alice Miranda and Augusta

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Hi Angela,
      Thanks for sharing your favourite characters! Some good choices there.

      Reply
  5. Sri Darshna

    Hi Tim,
    One of my favourite book characters is Miss Trunchbull because even though she looks and behaves strict, she is really funny somehow. Also, I think her name, Trunchbull matches her characteristics. I also like the character, Miss Honey, because she is a warm-hearted teacher who always care for her student. She is as sweet as honey.

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Thanks for sharing these thoughtful choices, Sri. Roald Dahl is certainly a master at aptly naming characters. I’m a fan of Miss Honey too!

      Reply
  6. Sophia Chen

    Hi, my favourite book characters are Alice Miranda from the book Alice Miranda, Casey from the book The Power of Positive Pranking, Leila Vernon from the book The Magic Misfits and Sophie/The Ghost Girl from the book Storm Horse. (I can not choose!)

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      It can be difficult to choose when there are so many great choices, Sophia. Thanks for sharing this list of outstanding characters!

      Reply
  7. Allison Wu

    My Favourite book is Nanny Piggins because it has a lot of silliness in the stories. She wears homemade clothes made out of Mr Greens new shirts or would just go naked. Nanny Piggins goal is to eat lots and impress Mr green and his children. I would recomend this book to everyone!

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Great choice, Allison! Thanks for sharing such a detailed response.

      Reply
  8. Shawn Ng

    Hey Mr Harris,

    Thank you for such a wonderful blog post on characters!

    My favourite book character is Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s novels. I really enjoy the way he approaches the mystery cases, and some of the methods that he uses is just genius!

    Hercule Poirot is also very alert all the time, even when he is relaxing. For example, in the book ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, Hercule Poirot overheard a conversation by Mary Debenham and Colonel Arbuthnot, and Mary Debenham told Colonel Arbuthnot ‘Not now. Not now. When it’s all over. When it’s behind us-then-‘, which made Hercule Poirot immediately suspicious of the two characters.

    Thanks again.

    Shawn

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Sounds like a really cool character. Readers enjoy trying to work out mysteries, and great characters like this can help put the reader on the right track.

      Reply
  9. Collin Hao

    My favourite character is The Little Prince from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry as he is quirky, does not understand the ways of grown-ups and is stubborn.

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      Thanks for this detailed description of The Little Prince.

      Reply
  10. Veeva

    Hi Tim,
    My favourite book character is either Felix or Zelda from ‘Once’ by Morris Gleitzman (we are doing this book in literacy) because they are both very hopeful to see their parents and also help each other. But their weaknesses are that Zelda is possibly too picky and bossy while Felix probably believes himself too much.
    Veeva 🙂

    Reply
    • Tim Harris

      I agree. Felix and Zelda are strong characters.

      Reply

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