Making a character unique is something I really struggle with. I constantly fall into the trap of creating a whole cast who blends together, or if I do achieve the desired effect of them standing on their own, they merge with characters from a different book I’ve written.
Here are some of the things my editor pointed out or I noticed with my AK book:
* Almost everyone (adults and children alike) use words like “wow” and “cool” as their go-to expression
* The kids fused together in our minds because they didn’t have anything to help them stand out
* They used cliché facial expressions and hand gestures
Here are some of the ways I fixed my problems:
* I eliminated the words “wow” and “cool” from the parent’s vocabulary and then used other words for some of the kids. (For instance, one of the kids says “woah” when he thinks something is cool)
* I gave the kids unique characteristics. From the beginning the three girls were different: one was a shy book worm, one was a chatty horse lover and the narrator was a popular girl thrown into a new setting. It wasn’t until several drafts into the book that I realized chatty-horse-lover and narrator both seemed a lot alike, so I had to add more dimension to the narrator so they didn’t intermix in our minds
* Another way I made the characters original is by giving some of them a one-of-a-kind gesture. Such as the main character’s mom pulls on the tips of her daughter’s hair instead of giving hugs most of the time
What about you? How do you make a character unique?