CHARACTERS– How to Create Memorable CHARACTERS

I’ve amped my characters to the max utilising individual Character Profiles to create characters that are memorable, believable, with a strong sensory impression.
Last year, I trialed JOSH AND THE IT with a target audience of children at schools and libraries, and kids identified with Josh and the Super Space Kids straight away.

Where did my characters start?
Main Character … First I picked my protagonist and their name. And made sure he’s likeable, and bestowed him with several strong traits and added one major glaring weakness. This glaring weakness formed the underlying tension that drove his behaviour. My protagonist survived a series of struggles and ‘brick walls’.

Each unforgettable character in the story must have a distinct visual and auditory image and motivation. I made the character attributes or TAGS very obvious so the reader would remember them.

  • Visual Tags …  strong memorable appearance, tangible trinkets
  • Movement Tags … how their hands behave and how they walk
  • Auditory Tags … type of voice, what they say. Dialogue that’s spoken in Buzzwords or Cliché phrases.
  • Motivation … dreams and goals and FEARS.

photo-for-logan-north-library-publicityHow did I check my characters are consistent throughout the story?
Before I started, I printed off character profile sheets for each of my main characters for JOSH AND THE IT and filled in the details as I went.

When I finished the final draft, I typed in each character’s name using the FIND feature and searched throughout the story for consistency.

Writing a book series?

Next I wrote JOSH VS LORD TERRA, Book 2 of the Super Space Kids series. I cross-matched the characters against their profiles for uniformity from one book to another.

For a Book Series, it’s more important than ever to keep track of your characters.
I’m brainstorming new plot ideas and planning Book 3 of the Super Space Kids Series … with my character profile sheets right in front of me.

What type of Character does a Reader want?

Strong, believable, fully developed characters are the key to making your fiction truly memorable. The Reader must care about what is happening to the main character and identify with him. The character’s struggle must resonate within the Reader.

** If you’d like a FREE copy of my Character Profile sheet, please leave a comment here and I’ll email it to you.**

** Profile items include … tag analysis, ‘defining moment’ and time line. The character profile sheet is a practical reference resource.

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20 comments to CHARACTERS– How to Create Memorable CHARACTERS

  • Elaine

    Good advice Karen. Thanks.

  • Laura

    Hi Karen, thanks for sharing that. It was really, really helpful. I hadn’t considered using movement tags & I know I need to develop my character tags more. I would love a copy of your Character Profile sheet if you could please send me one. It definitely sounds like something I need to use. Thanks, L.

  • Thanks Elaine,
    Glad you like my tips. Characterization is something that we should all look at with fresh eyes :))

  • Hi Laura,
    I’m glad my tips were helpful. I’ve developed and improved my profile sheet over the last few years. It reminds me to see a character in 3D. I’m very happy to send you the profile sheet :))

  • Mani

    Thanks Karen. This info is awesome. Can you please send me a copy of the profile sheet? xxx

  • Thanks Mani for your support.
    Of course I can send you the profile sheet. On its way soon :))

  • You’ve got it all wrapped up, Karen 🙂 I’d love a character sheet for future reference. Thanks in advance.

  • Hi Carol, thanks for dropping by. Think you’ll love my character profile sheet. On its way very soon :))

  • that was great Karen. I would like to take you up on that offer if you don’t mind.
    Thanks so much love
    x x

  • Hi Kelly, The profile sheet … you can use with children’s books as well as books for adults. The profile really makes you think about your character(s)… Karen :))

  • Scott Chambers

    Hi Karen, thanks for the great post. Would love to see what you have for a character profile sheet – have been working on some ideas myself but am just a beginner =)

  • Hi Scott, Glad you enjoyed my post on Memorable Characters. I’ll send you the Profile Sheet tomorrow. Please let me know what you think :))

  • Joanna Gaudry

    Great tips, Karen. I’d love a copy of your character profile sheet. Also, re journal writing, did you change names? I’m going to change the names in mine when I’m finished. Better to do that I think. Not pushing myself with it like you do with your writing, but don’t want to put any pressure on myself about writing this. Want to have fun with it along the way. Thanks again for your great advice about making characters that are ‘real’ and memorable. Joanna :))

  • Hi Joanna,
    With your question about my journal writing … did you mean my memoir? If so, with the character names … I kept the ones I had permission to use and changed all the others. Your character profile sheet is on its way …Karen :))

  • Debbie Johansson

    Thanks for the advice Karen. We must be on the same wavelength here, as I’ve been doing exactly the same thing! Lately, I’ve been cutting out pictures from magazines to help me try to fictionalise the characters in my novel (loosely based on real people & real events). If you don’t mind, I’d love to have a copy of your character profile sheet. Thanks in advance. Deb. 🙂

  • Hi Debbie,
    Glad to hear you’re amping your character profiles too. Yes, magazine pics are fabulous for visualising and building characters. The profile sheet will be on its way soon :))

  • Lexie Mitchell

    Hello Karen,
    Thanks for your tips and advice on the character profiles. Your ideas and other writer’s ideas are always gratfully received.I’m sorry I take so long to leave a reply. I don’t get to read my mail as often as I should lately. Hopefully things will slow down now and I can get back to my writing and my writing friends.

  • Thanks Lexie for dropping by. So Glad my advice and tips were helpful. I wish you all the best with your wring , hoping you’ll find the time you need :))

  • Karen, that was the most useful bit of advice on developing characters that I have read in a while. I really like how you add flaws to your characters’ profiles. I’d love one of your profile sheets, thanks.


  • Thanks Angela for saying that. Flaws make characters really interesting especially when their part of the characters strengths too. Sending your profile sheet soon :))

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