Philip Levens explains that characters are the lifeblood of any story. They are the vessels through which we experience the world of the narrative, the ones we laugh and cry with, and the ones we root for or against. But what makes a character truly memorable? What makes them stay with us long after we’ve finished the book or movie?
It’s an art, of course, but some key ingredients can help you create characters that leap off the page and into our hearts.
Give them depth and dimension.
A memorable character is more than just a collection of traits. They are complex individuals with a rich inner life. They have hopes, fears, dreams, and flaws. They are shaped by their past experiences and relationships, and they are constantly evolving.
Make them relatable.
Philip Levens notes that even the most fantastical characters need to have some element that makes them relatable to the audience. We need to be able to find ourselves in their struggles, joys, and vulnerabilities. This doesn’t mean they have to be perfect or even likable. Some of the most memorable characters are the most flawed and morally ambiguous.
Give them a voice.
A character’s voice is their unique way of speaking and interacting with the world. It’s not just their dialogue, but also their mannerisms, gestures, and even their silence. A strong voice can make a character instantly recognizable and endear them to the audience.
Put them through the fire.
Conflict is what makes characters grow and change. It reveals their true colors and forces them to make difficult choices. Without conflict, characters remain stagnant and one-dimensional. So don’t be afraid to throw your characters into the deep end. Let them face challenges, make mistakes, and learn from their experiences.
Let them surprise you.
The best characters are often the ones who defy our expectations. They take unexpected turns, make surprising choices, and keep us guessing. This doesn’t mean they have to be completely unpredictable, but they should feel organic and real as if they have a mind of their own.
Memorable characters are not born, they are crafted.
Philip Levens explains that it takes time, effort, and a lot of love to create a character that truly resonates with readers or viewers. But the rewards are great. Memorable characters can make or break a story. They can stay with us for years, inspiring us, challenging us, and making us believe in the power of storytelling.
So, get out there and start crafting! The world needs more memorable characters.
- Develop character profiles: This can help you flesh out your characters’ backstories, motivations, and relationships.
- Use sensory details: Help your readers experience your characters through sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
- Write from their point of view: This is a great way to get inside their heads and understand their thoughts and feelings.
- Let them evolve: Don’t be afraid to change your characters as the story develops.
Bonus tips for producers:
- Cast the right actors: This is crucial for bringing your characters to life on screen.
- Work with your actors to develop their characters: Give them the freedom to explore and experiment.
- Use visuals to tell the story: Costumes, sets, and even lighting can reveal a lot about your characters.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks: Sometimes, the most memorable characters are the most unconventional ones.