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Seven elements of an extreme character

How extreme are your characters?

Some of the most interesting and memorable characters in literature have contradictory and irreconcilable traits. Extreme characters are a mix of traits that make them so unique that they aren’t like anyone we know.

But it doesn’t mean we don’t identify with some of their characteristics. These characters stick in your reader’s mind.

Think of your character’s traits and consider which one you want to emphasize. Mental traits often work better than physical and can power emotional depth in your story. Surprise your reader by turning stereotypes inside out.

Here’s a profile of an extreme character:

  1. Does things an ordinary character wouldn’t do.
  2. Has a clearly defined goal. Because of this, he isn’t extreme for the sake of being extreme. His traits play into his behavior as he navigates toward his goal.
  3. Believes so strongly in her goal that she would break rules if needed to accomplish it.
  4. Possesses strong emotions.
  5. Has a history that drives him and motivates him.
  6. Is often unusually flawed. Flaws make characters more human. And making mistakes helps the character grow.
  7. Doesn’t need to win but will fight the good fight until the end.

Are your own characters this interesting?  Don’t be afraid to challenge the limits of what makes a good character. One good character can make and change your entire story.

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