The Character Series Part 3/5: Giving Your Characters Their Character

The Character Series Part 3/5: Giving Your Characters Their Character




What if Batman and the Joker were exactly the same? What if Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler were exactly the same? it wouldn’t be very interesting. What’s the fun in two competing characters that are the same? There is no conflict, you have no idea who to choose.

When you create the protagonist and the protagonist . . . give them contrasting characteristics that are obvious to the reader even if they aren’t to the heroine or hero.



To go along with Contrasting Characters you need to have one for the reader to love and one for the reader to hate. Again you have Batman and Joker. In Gone with the Wind, who or what was the antagonist? Something to think about. Was it the Yankees, the carpetbaggers, the scalawags, the old guard South, or was it even perhaps Scarlett?  Could it have been a mindset, ignorance? Yes, there are more characters than just living, breathing things, but let’s not get into that now.



No matter how much you want your reader to love a character or hate a character those characters have to have a sense of purpose to be characters. Just existing will not work. Batman wants to rid the world of crime. Joker wants to maybe just rid the world of the world. But what makes the two long-lasting and beloved characters is that they continue to have a sense of purpose and the purpose is something people can identify with on some level, no matter how fantastic it may be.


Creating a character that is lasting, memorable, and connects with a reader is more involved than we think. Groundwork in the beginning not only makes the characters memorable for you, but it makes for easy writing as you will know the characters so well.

Part 1: Creating Character Names

Part 2: Things to Avoid when Creating Characters

Part 4: Creating Believable Characters

Part 5: Character Beyond the Internal



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