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Make Your Characters Memorable with Tags, Traits & Tics

How Do You Make your Characters' Memorable to your Readers?

Do you introduce your character in such a memorable way that when they don't reappear for several chapters your readers instantly recognize them?

We all know what traits are. We know about positive and negative traits for the purpose of developing deep character arcs, but what about the minor and secondary characters who populate our novels. How are our readers supposed to keep everyone straight. We still have to create memorable characters even when they don't land the leading role or even a supporting role.

We do this by giving them a few distinct Traits, Tags and/or Tics.

It can be something physical, something your character says, something she wears ...  a wardrobe item like Colombo's overcoat, something she says or something she does. The best place to find traits, tags & tic is to observe them in the real world beginning with the people you see everyday and then by stalking and spying on the people you see while forced to wait in lines at the grocery store, carpool lines, soccer games, coffee shops etc. Your everyday places are a fictional fodder wonderland for writers.

I like to give my secondary characters three tags to make them memorable to myself and for my readers.

Emma: Selfish, Big nose, Imaginative
Joseph: Disciplined, Freckled face, Tricky
Kaycee: Cowardly, Mousy Looking, Dresses like she's never read a fashion magazine
Carlton: Sexy, Always wears Costa polarized sunglasses whether it's sunny or not, Unreliable

Tags can be something your character always says:
"Copy that."
"Sure thing."
"Where Y'at'"
"Wheel's up in --" That one's from Criminal Minds, Hotch says it in every single episode.

Can you guess who says the next two?
"Baby girl?
"You're a statuesque god of sculpted chocolate thunder."

Do you give your characters tags trait or tic? 

So how's the A to Z blogging Challenge going? Are you still visiting many blogs? Or are have slowed down like me? I do plan to make it up, but so many other things in life kicked me in the butt this past week. My son's high school admissions, my daughter's college admissions and my husband in the hospital again among other things. I promise I will be back to all the blogs I've been visiting. I've made so many new friends this year. I've fallen hard for several new blogs.

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