Everyone knows that characters should be unique and easy to identify from each other, but this is sometimes easier said than done. I find that while my main character is usually unique, the secondary characters have a tendency to blend together. It requires me to be extra vigilant in giving those characters a special way to remember them. This challenge is sometimes made harder by the fact that they don’t show up and speak as often as the main characters. Here is a list to help you give your characters a couple traits to make them more memorable.

  • Names – Making the character names descriptive can also make them more memorable. Imagine calling a scruffy, thief character “Ratface.”
  • Age – While not always appropriate, putting a character in a different age group can make them stand out, or even add subtleties to their personality.

Personality

  • Apathetic
  • Anal
  • Unapologetically self-centered
  • mood swings
  • obsessive compulsive behaviors
  • pet peeves
  • disgustingly cheerful (especially in the mornings)
  • gossiping busybody
  • compulsive liar

Language

  • Accent (be careful, if it’s too hard to read you may lose your audience)
  • Very formal/ informal
  • Very polite/rude
  • misquotes sayings and proverbs
  • Always tries to use big words
  • hates using and or hearing certain words
  • talkative
  • never talks

Clothing

  • Favorite article of clothing or jewelry
  • flashy dresser
  • wears a funky hat
  • old fashioned style
  • unwashed and/or wrinkled
  • skimpy/inappropriate
  • heavy makeup
  • clashing colors
  • untied shoes

Physical

  • limp
  • peg leg
  • big/small feet
  • big/small hands
  • beady eyes
  • wide set eyes
  • pointy nose
  • bugged out eyes
  • eye patch
  • cane
  • messy/uncombed hair
  • strange-colored/dyed hair
  • strange-colored eyes
  • beauty mark
  • birth mark
  • warts
  • piercings
  • extremely tall/short
  • stumbles
  • shuffles feet
  • scars
  • weird haircut
  • nervous tic
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