An important technique for creating memorable characters is to give them “tags.” Tags are distinctqualities which identify a character and set him or her apart from other characters. For example, if youhave read the
novels (as quite a few have), you may have noticed that they contain a lot of characters. To help readers keep the characters straight, the author, J. K. Rowling, goes to a lot of troubleto give each character his or her own physical tags. Here are a few examples...Harry Potter: green eyes, lightening-shaped scar, glasses, perpetually messy hairHermione Granger: buck teeth, bushy hairRon Weasley: red hair, freckles, long nose, gangly Rubeus Hagrid: huge, shaggy hair and beard, beetle-black eyes Albus Dumbledore: long silver hair and beard, half-moon glasses, long fingersMinerva McGonagall: square spectacles, green clothes, hair in bun, severe look Severus Snape: long greasy black hair, hooked nose, sallow skinDraco Malfoy: pale, blonde, pointed face Vernon Dursley: beefy, no neck, big moustacheNearly Headless Nick: ghost (therefore pale and translucent), head nearly but not quite severedfrom shouldersI could go on. Tags can include physical traits, clothing preferences, hairstyles, habitual mannerisms, facialexpressions, speech habits, noises the character makes, or even scents—anything, in fact, that a personinteracting with the character would notice about him. The combination of a character's tags should sethim or her apart from all other characters in the novel. The only exception would be if you want to createcharacters whose identities become confused for a specific reason (e.g. you're writing a mystery and you want two suspects to be mistaken for each other). When you first introduce a character, you include some of his or her tags in a description of hisappearance or actions. Your description can be very brief. All you need to do is help your readers create animage of that character in their minds. Throughout the novel, mention a character's tags whenever thecharacter reappears and you feel the reader needs to be reminded who he or she is. You don't need too many tags per character—one or two can be enough for minor characters.Major characters will need more because they appear more frequently and for longer stretches. The moretime readers spend with a character, the more details they expect to learn about him or her. So you may notintroduce some tags until later in the novel. As the story progresses, the characters will become more fixed in the reader's mind, and you may find you don't need to insert the tags as often.Of course, the most common character tag is not a sense impression at all, yet it is the one tag youare most likely to use every time a character appears. It is the character's name.
How to Create Character Names
Here are a few tips on how to create character names ...1.Try to create character names that sound different from each other. Have them start with differentletters of the alphabet, and avoid giving characters the same name. (Of course, there areexceptions, such as when you want a father and son to have the same name if it tells the reader