Friday, September 24, 2010

Blogfest: Creating Memorable Characters

Creating memorable characters, huh?

Well, first they'll need a memorable name. Bob Smith just won't cut it, especially not if you write paranormal novels like I do. The guy's your hero, after all, you've got to give him a heroic name. Like Lance, or Vance, or Chance... actually, Chance sounds too much like a heroine, so don't forget to keep a list while you brainstorm. You never know what other characters will pop up needing memorable names.

Then, of course, they must have a memorable appearance. I favor the prodigious use of eye-patches, myself. Nothing sexier than a hero with an eye-patch. Heck, I bet a heroine with an eye-patch would be even more memorable. I mean, you've never heard of a heroine with an eye-patch, right? You wouldn't give your villain an eye-patch, because that's too predictable.

Speaking of predictable, that's one thing memorable characters never are. Like, no one ever suspected that Han Solo—the benevolent dictator of memorable characters—was going to shoot Greedo in that effed up space-bar (which was really George Lucas's basement. It's still like that, muppet band and all, except no one told them minimum wage has gone up since 1977). But Han did it anyway, because memorable characters are defined by their actions almost as much as they're defined by their cool one-liners. So be sure to have a stock of these ready before you start writing. A witty catch-phrase would be even better, so start thinking up a few of these now.

In fact, why even bother coming up with a memorable plot at all? All you need is to put these memorable characters in a situation where they're sure to get into trouble, and make them get out of it. Soooo easy when you think of it like that. Think, McFly, think!

Said plot doesn't have to be original (*cough* Cameron *cough* Avatar *cough*), as long as the characters are seven feet tall, and blue, and fly around on cool dragon-like things. Because everyone remembers characters who get to fly, so be sure to add some flying hippos, or giant eagles, or even a pack-angel, if you so desire. But nothing boring like a plane, because that's just not memorable enough.

Lesse, where was I? Oh, memorable characters must also ALWAYS get the girl. You remember her. Chance. The one with the eye-patch? Yeah, but she also has to have some kind of secret, because an eye-patch isn't quite memorable enough on it's own, and everyone loves secrets. And it would help to either make her a princess in disguise (which might be hard for poor Chance, since everyone would always recognize her eye-patch), or a girl dressed like a boy because she's in hiding from her evil uncle who wanted to marry her off to her gross second cousin, who doesn't even have an eye-patch or a memorable name. What a loser.

To sum up, if you want to create memorable characters, make sure they're tall, blue, have cool names and even cooler dialogue. If they could mouth-off to their boss once, that would be very memorable, because who here hasn't ever wanted to tell their boss exactly where they could stick something large and pointy? Okay, maybe I like my boss, so I wouldn't want to do that, but I'm proving my point right there. I'm not very memorable. Tere, WHO? I dunno, they'll all say. She didn't have an eye-patch.  ;)

Note: The preceding was meant to be humorous (or humourous, however you want to spell it). Ergo, I don't want to see a rash of heroes named Vance rescuing an eye-patched princess in disguise.

Those are my ideas, and they don't come cheap. They are however, for sale. First come, first served.

44 comments:

Mara Nash said...

LOL - too funny. I'm not such a fan of eye patches, but I get the idea. Memorable name, memorable appearance, unpredictable, witty-catch phrase, recycled plots,win the day or girl or boy, or whatever.

Very witty and well said!

Laura Pauling said...

I enjoyed the rambling and did indeed find it humorous! And really any ridiculous idea can be made believable!

Hannah Kincade said...

Lol! I love your humourous take. You just made Tere a memorable and compelling character right now. :D

Michelle McLean said...

LOL hilarious :D

The eye patch thing made me realize I'm kind of partial to scars :D One MC has a scar going through her eyebrow and another (in another book)has a huge scar on his hand and is missing a finger (not the important one) :D

Meredith said...

Haha, I love this! Totally making up a new WiP with a female heroine with an eye-patch. Named Chance.

Tere Kirkland said...

Thanks, y'all!

By the time I signed up, there were about 150 people, so I figured I'd take a different approach. ;)

LOL, Meredith, don't forget Chance has a secret. I think she was born a dude. Shhh!

Faith said...

Forget giving my character an eye-patch... now *I* want one. It'll make me feel all mysterious and heroic-like. Just... don't make me go into George Lucas's basement. PLEASE.

Meesa no-likesa that ideasa. o_O

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, girl, this was totally awesome! Hurry up and write that book about Chance and her eye-patch - I am SO going to buy it! :-)

Susan R. Mills said...

Ha! This was a nice comedic break from all the other serious posts I've read on the topic. Thanks for going at it from a different angle.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Brilliant! You're a swashbuckling, ninja of memorable character ideas. I want to see this book!

Candyland said...

I fancy a good eye patch too:)

The Golden Eagle said...

LOL! I love this post! But behind the humor, this is all great advice.

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, the sexy eye patch. Yum. LOL!

Great post!

Abby Annis said...

Um, if she's a princess in disguise, wouldn't the eye patch be part of the costume? Or maybe the eye patch she wears when she's not in disguise is diamond encrusted, so no one can tell it's her when she wears a boring old black one, right? That kind of disguise works for all the superheroes. ;)

You better hurry up and write this one, because I don't think anyone cares that you called dibs on it. It's totally going to get stolen. :)

Thanks for the laugh! Have a good weekend!

Carolyn Abiad said...

What's under the eyepatch?

Dominique said...

This post made me laugh out loud. Absolute brilliance. Of course there should be eye patches everywhere.

And, yes, when I'm telling the story, the hero always gets the girl, because that's how I roll. Especially when she's seven feet tall and blue. ;)

Annette Lyon said...

Awesome. And now I have a hankering to wear an eye patch. :D

Jen Chandler said...

This is hilarious! I loved it. Especially the part about Han Solo being "the benevolent dictator of memorable characters".

Cheers,
Jen

Janet Johnson said...

I agree, . . . that gross second cousin is SUCH a loser! LOL Fun post!

Jemi Fraser said...

I might be willing to rent the eye patch idea... :)

I've actually taught 3 kids named Chance - all boys. Fun post!

Krispy said...

LOL. I love your take on this, and there is definitely a dearth of female eye-patching wearing heroines.

On a more serious note, a good name does help. Then again, I suppose being blue does too...

Plamena said...

Oh, good. I was worried about my story, but now I can write with full confidence. I have a second cousin and a bunch of very pale people. I heard really white and sparkly is in right now. But don't tell, it's a secret.

lbdiamond said...

Bob Smith, LOL! This post IS humorous! :D

Tamika: said...

I keep trying to imagine any of my characters with eye patches...I don't think they have the spunk to pull it off:)

Great post!

Melissa said...

I WANT to read about a heroine with an eye patch now. Actually, I just want to read your book. Now.

This was absolutely hilarious and also touched on many excellent points. You've just charmed me into pressing the follow button. :D

DaniSue said...

LOL! Great post, so funny!

Lynda Young said...

lol.. fun take on the Blogging Experiment :) Loved it

Shari Green said...

Ahaha! Awesome.

"You remember her. Chance. The one with the eye-patch?" - ROFL!

L.T. Elliot said...

Methinks you've started a rash of pirate girls named Chance who get it on with hawt dudes named Vance. Only they never kiss because their spacial reasoning is all screwed up.

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

LMAO!!!!! heheheh, and OK, you are so the FIRST blogger to EVER get me to type "LMAO". Excellent post! gotta love me a bitta humour! You had me laughing out loud. Excellent. Ok, you just got yourself a new avid reader ;o) (Um, Pst!, if you want dibs on my hubbie, you better get in quick coz the women are beating down my door! ;o)

DL Hammons said...

I totally suck at coming up with memorable names, and besides...I find how some authors use names to convey character traits cheating. A young man named Sage for instance, who is wise beyond his years. Or a girl named Blaze, who has a fiery temperment. tsk...tsk...tsk!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

No eye patches, I promise!

Misha said...

LOL you mean I can't let my princess hiding from her uncle wear an eye patch?

NOOOOO!!!

;-)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Very funny stuff! My mc wears an eye patch, has a limp, is a beauty queen, a ninja, and volunteers for the red cross....and bites his nails.

Missed Periods said...

Excerpt from my new novel:

"Deadheads don't do deadlines," Chance told her boss as she adjusted her tie dyed eye patch and headed off to the Grateful Dead tribute concert where she shot a bounty hunter.

Elena Solodow said...

I bow down to you for the Avatar reference...and the entire post! So original.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Hahahaha! I will buy that. Am I first???

Seriously, very funny. And also spot on in a general sense. Characters have to stand out and have an original spin on them. Otherwise they're just boring old marshmallows that no one cares about.

foldingfields said...

Favorite post of the bunch! Loved it. eye patches are appealing on all levels other than what might be lurking behind them.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Very funny! Im almost wishing I could read about Vance and his one-eyed princess!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I almost fell off my seat from laughing so hard. I love your take on the rememberable character. Now I'm off to add an eye-patch to my 17 yo character. Talk about conflict. Dancing with an eye-patch will definitely be challenging.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Hilarious post. Loved it! I actually like the name Vance, there's just something about it...

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

That was funny! Off to get an eye-patch....

Julie said...

Thanks for making me laugh this morning. And I am so going to add two eye patches to my main character immediately (not because she's blind, but because she doesn't choose to see). :)

Lola Sharp said...

Sorry I'm so late getting to this (you know I've been in my cave aka Revision Hell)...but I enjoyed this. :)

And even more your later twist on "her" secret...Chase the one-eyed, one-liner tranny! That's a book I'd totes read...get on that, will ya.

Lola-->out.