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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writing an Essay About a Memorable Character

Memorable Characters

Writer's Workshop

I went to my first writer's workshop last Saturday, put on by the Canadian Authors' Association and presented by author Karen Bass.

I bought her YA book Run Like Jager, who hopes to learn what his grandfather did during the war in Germany.

Karen spoke on Friday night to the group then presented the workshop on Saturday. She is from Hythe, Alberta.
Map of Canada

Developing a Memorable Character in a Story

I jotted down some notes. If they don't make sense in this context, it's my fault, not the workshop. The workshop was on developing a unique character in a story.

Author hard at work old style

  • Use a static character as foil to show off protagonist's characteristics
  • Teens - show them there are ways out of bad situations
  • Character reveals who they are, revelation in life, not necessarily a change, e.g. find out you're obsessing, or learn something about yourself in a situation. Discover new depths.
  • Make character distinct, someone you can identify with. Talent or character trait such as autism
  • Character - what do they want? Driving the story. Make choices. Driven by choice.
  • Develop back story. Character makes choices depending on his/her own characteristics. 
  • What is your character's greatest fear? e.g. for someone brought up in the 1930s it may be fear of banks.
  • Perfect characters are annoying.
  • They should behave differently in different situations, e.g. introvert author doesn't like parties but gets high on writers' conferences.
  • Not too many characters, can have composite characters.
  • Actions - character revealed through actions, such as anger shown by chopping onions savagely.
  • In first scene main character does something sympathetic.."save the cat."

My son's Fuzzy Kitty with his favorite meal

  • Always need to know your character's motives. Motive was good e.g. take someone to park and have fun together. Motives drive decisions.
  • Self-awareness in character at some time.
  • An example of motive would be Gladiator - his motive was to get home. Motive is deepest desire, what is driving you to act, e.g. need to help poor. Self-aware teen or maybe adult, what they really want. Driving need, motive, back story, e.g. desire for more money might spring from a poor background.
  • Reputation - what other characters think of your character. Give clues to reader.
  • Habits can drive stories, e.g. addicted, revelation needs to change. Or shyness.
  • Names of characters shouldn't be too similar.
  • Are characters stereotypes? e.g. look like thug but acts opposite. Way to catch reader's attention.
  • Face their fears to get where they're going, e.g. Indiana Jones fear of snakes, has to go into pit of snakes at the end.
  • If there is no problem there is no story.
    Small boy reading to friends


  1. Spammers! Ugh. But it looks like a profitable workshop was had. Good for you -- all you writers -- for your self-inspired "continuing education"!

  2. Thanks, Judi, these workshops and readings are so much fun. I think eventually my time will be more limited but for now I'm really enjoying them. CAA rocks and so does the Writer's Guild of Alberta!

  3. Its quite interesting! This is the first time I've found such kind of strategies to write an essay with a memorable characters. It appears to me that this guidelines could help me to expand my knowledge writing essay. Essay mama members must know about it. Thank you for sharing and keep up the excellent work. :)

    1. Thanks, Marjorie, it's been more than a year since I published that post, and I'm happy to see that it helped someone. I very much enjoyed that workshop. You're welcome to use the guidelines in any way that works.

  4. It helped me as well, Thank you very much for the great tips, Kenna. I will use them while working on my short stories and esseay for my essay writing service. I love your blog!

    1. Thank you, Jana. Hope you're signed up for enews and to my email service. So happy my blog was useful to you. Good luck with your essay writing service.

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