How to Make Your Characters Unique: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan | Resources | Character | Essential Guides | Links for Writers
Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

Being able to distinguish characters in a story is essential to the reader. Each character must be different and unique. Factors such as physical traits are of course, important, but just as important are what the characters think, say, and do. It’s not enough for the writer to tell the reader these things, they must show them and demonstrate them through the characters’ actions and reactions. I have put together some articles and podcasts that I hope you will find helpful in crafting unique characters.


As writers we want to create characters that stand out. Your characters must be as unique and interesting as the world you’ve put them in. The Penned Sleuth shares 7 tips on how to do this, including making their actions different not just their looks, shaping them with prejudices, giving them enemies, faults and fears, giving them a unique goal, and unique phrases and speech.


Characterisation is one of the most important elements to master when writing a novel. It is defined by what the characters think, say, and do. The writer must develop the personality of the people in the story to make it interesting, compelling, and affecting. This article discusses getting to know your character and how to write them into the story.


The plot is the story but without good characters, readers won’t stick around long enough to get invested in it. This article discusses how to make your characters interesting, complex, and unique. It covers distinct character traits, and flaws, giving characters opinions and beliefs, and creating interesting character quirks. Allowing your character to evolve is also important. People are not static. You aren’t the same person you were two years ago. Don’t be afraid to let your characters change.


Different characteristics and traits can reveal much about the persona you have tried to build into your character; they eliminate the need for boring descriptions. They ‘show’ so you don’t have to ‘tell’. Highlighting your character’s distinctive characteristics is important, as is being specific about the trait or quirk. Don’t generalise. And, don’t just tell the reader about it; allow the character’s actions to demonstrate it. This article from Freelance Writing discusses how you can show physical and personality characteristics.


True character development goes far beyond the surface level and this is where your character’s voice comes in. Encompassing everything from their personality to their behaviour, goals, actions, and thoughts, your character’s voice will define who they are in the eyes of your reader. Novel Smithy discusses the power of a character’s voice. It is not just dialogue that contributes to the voice but body language, personality traits, and mood. The key elements that shape your character are their actions, thoughts, and your descriptions. 4 tricks for writing unique voices are shared, including creating a character profile, remembering their arc, using quirks sparingly, and making your authorial voice invisible.



This podcast from Fiction Made Easy discusses how to create memorable characters using hooks such as using accents, identifiable physical features, body language, pets, roles in the story, and a default emotional state to name but a few. How to incorporate these types of character hooks into your story is also discussed.


If you want readers to invest in your characters and their journeys, then you must craft characters that readers can believe in. This episode from the Well-Storied podcast shares 33 tips to develop complex and compelling characters.


Matt Bird talks about aspects of writing characters, and how we can write distinctive but still believable characters.

Good points and tips have been shared here about making your characters unique but you also have real-life characters all around you. Think of the people in your life: family members, friends, people you see on your commute to work or in the local shop. I’m not suggesting you put your best friend or your aunt in your next story but you can take parts of all of them to help create your characters. I hope this week’s column has been useful for you. Please get in touch if there are any topics you would like me to cover.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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