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How To Make Characters Larger Than Life

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Writer Wannabe Corner

Today’s post is for those who want to be writers. 

Books on writing talk about making characters larger than life. You may scratch your head and wonder how the heck to do that?

Change the way you think about it. Instead of using the phrase larger than life, call it making them memorable. That’s easier to understand because we have all met people who are memorable.

So what makes a person memorable? Think about real people you know. Are there people that are memorable? What makes them stand out to you?

Think about the visual media of movies and television. What characters stand in television series or movies stand out to you?

Movie Example

Just about everyone has seen an old Cary Grant movie. In every movie, what is the one characteristic of his roles that sticks in your mind?

For me, it was his suave sophistication. That’s a memorable characteristic that can be seen in every role he played. It made him memorable, or larger than life.

What about Clint Eastwood?

When you think about Clint Eastwood, what stands out in your mind? In all of the Dirty Harry movies and the westerns and even in Gran Torino, he is larger than life. He’s memorable for his stern will, his strict moral compass, and his protectiveness. He will do what he thinks is right, come hell or high water. He will protect those who can’t protect themselves.

Takeaway Truth

In developing your characters think about the attributes of real people and characters in visual media. Identify what makes them stand out. Then use what you’ve discovered in creating your own characters.

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Joan Reeves aka SlingWords: The Word Slinging Adventures of Joan Reeves


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