After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the “Bulrushers”; and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by-and-by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable  time; so then I didn’t care no more about him; because I don’t take no stock in dead people.  (Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn)

Why We Love Huckleberry Finn

Though the book takes place around 1860, Huckleberry Finn is a timeless character. His unusual name, his dire circumstances, his street smarts and clever antics create in our minds a character we fall in love with.

So How Does One Create an Unforgettable Main Character?

Creating wonderful characters is not always easy. But you’ll have a much easier time if you keep in mind that all great characters need to have something quirky about them; or if not quirky, then at least different.

One way to go about the task is thinking about people you know. You might even think about somebody you dislike. Think about one characteristic of that person.

You might choose your Uncle Wally; your one and only uncle who always makes sure that somebody else foots the bill. He’s the type to invite his extended family to a fancy restaurant and then make sure they pick up the tab.

Now think about somebody else you know. Perhaps a friend, your best friend, who is one of the most wonderful people you know; but she can never take anything anybody says at face value. She questions everything. And as her friend, you’re capable of letting it go.

But now couple the argumentative trait with the tight-fisted exploiting trait, and the person you may have before you is Eugene Pennyworth.

I don’t know Eugene Pennyworth’s story. And that may be a topic for a different blog post. But the point is this: interesting characters drive stories. I may even dare to say that great characters are more important than great plots.

What do you think?