Characterization, On Writing

How to Create Pageturner Characters

October 20, 2012

Characters are important because they make a story memorable. They’re important for another reason too.

Plots can get recycled over and over again. Someone even wrote a book called The 20 Master Plots. Others gurus talk about novelists being limited to seven master plots, or to 36, and so on.

Characters, however, offer endless possibilities for creativity – for something new.  And that’s what readers are looking for:

  • the new
  • the unique
  • the fresh


So how does an author create great characters?

Think about some of the great colorful pagturener characters:

  • Rhett and Scarlett (and their foils: Ashley and Melanie) – Gone with the Wind
  • Frodo and Sauron – The Lord of the Rings
  • Edward and Bella – Twilight
  • Harry Potter and Voldemort – the Harry Potter books
  • Katniss – The Hunger Games


What do they all have in common?

  1. They’re unique and interesting!
  2. They each desperately care about something.


Sometimes the hero’s focus is love or money. For Scarlett O’Hara, it was both. Sometimes it’s living up to a personal set of values. Rocky didn’t want to win the fight in that first movie. He just wanted to stay in the fight.

Often, especially for the villain, it’s about power, and the hero’s struggle is to prevent the villain from achieving that power.

Sometimes the goal is to win. Sometimes it’s tp survive. For Katniss, in the Hunger Games, it was both.

Sometimes a character is trying desperately to avoid something. (Richard Kimble in The Fugitive tries very hard not to get caught by the law; he needs to be free to clear his name and to find his wife’s murderer.

In mystery stories, the hero cares deeply about solving murders.

Well, you get the picture; to create a character your readers will care about: give your character something he/she cares intensely about and//or desperately wants to achieve – or prevent! Readers are riveted by fascinating characters who have strong goals.

Happy writing!

Watch Jessica Hatchigan’s video tutorial – “How Bestselling Authors Create Pageturner Novels: Plot & Structure ” instantly on your PC, Mac, compatible TV or device via’s instant video.


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