The Not So Obvious Characters That Will Make Your Story Stand Out

By on March 31, 2017
The Not So Obvious Characters That Will Make Your Story Stand Out - Writer's

When it comes to writing stories there are some characters that appear in almost every book, regardless of the genre. We all have a protagonist or protagonists in our stories, those whose journey we follow throughout the book. They are our heroes and heroines. We also have villains - those who get in the way and cause trouble for our protagonists, as well as more minor characters, the wisecracking best friends, the fusspot mothers, the annoying brothers and sisters and so on.

But if we really want our books to stand out sometimes it's a good idea to look beyond these characters, or at least to break they stereotypes, and think how we can give them added depth, and make them really stand out and come alive in our work.

So what are the not so obvious characters that you can introduce into your novel to really make your story stand out?

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Freaks and Monsters

Bringing unusual people into your book is a way to really capture a readers attention. One way of doing this is by introducing freaks and monsters into your story. Think Jekyll and Hyde, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, or The Joker.

Now your book may not be the kind of book that can bring in a character quite so obviously freakish. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t make your characters freaky in some way. A funny voice or lisp, an eccentric way of dressing, an erratic way of walking, a creepy scar. You can be subtle but still add drama. Of course, being freakish isn’t necessarily about looks either. You make a characters demeanour or outlook on life freakish too.

Rule breakers

Introducing characters who break all the rules, who don’t conform to social norms, who manage to cheat the system and get away with it, will bring your novel to life. These characters bring chaos and disruption, they are unpredictable and exciting, the don’t live their lives the way we expect them to. We don’t have to like the rule breakers, but we should be fascinated by them, are they characters we look up to and respect, or are they ones who we believe to be dangerous and untrustworthy? Either way, they bring an energy to the story that will excite the reader and quicken the pace of your plot.

The Uncanny

Uncanny characters are the ones that are strangely familiar, ones that we can’t quite place yet stir something in us, a distant memory, an unsettling thought. Uncanny characters grip your readers, the fill them with intrigue. They bring a sense of mystery and disquiet that puts the reader on edge in an oddly pleasurable way.

The truth tellers

Truth tellers are those characters who tell us (the reader) things about ourselves that we always knew but had never really examined before. These truths can make us feel uncomfortable or completely understood. Either way, they are familiar yet enlightening, they are sensitive and easy to identify with - yet they experience things in such a way that we feel more powerful and strong once we've heard their stories.

Thinking about how to take your characters from those archetypal figures to those that are spellbinding and memorable is something every author should do. This way you’ll end up with a story that resonates more deeply with your reader, connects with them, and engages them with the action even more than before!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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