If I look back over the course of my life at the fictional characters that have left the most memorable impressions on me thus far, I would have to say the following ten unforgettable characters are at the top of the list:
1. Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz)
2. Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
4. Sherlock Holmes
5. Hercule Poirot
7. Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)
8. Scarlett O'Hara (Gone with the Wind)
9. Cruella deVil (The Hundred and One Dalmatians)
10. Norman Bates (Psycho)
There are many, many more unforgettable characters that start coming to mind, but those ten popped into my head first, not necessarily in that order. These are characters I have been familiar with most of my life and surely won't forget anytime soon. I'm sure your top ten list is completely different. The point is the characters we choose are those we will probably never forget.
What makes the characters we name so unforgettable? Why does their memory linger on in our minds after years and years? The answers we come up with need to be part of our toolset for creating unforgettable characters.
Dorothy and Alice are just ordinary little girls. But they embark on extraordinary adventures. Jean Valjean and Scarlett O'Hara have inner strength beyond most human beings, though they stumble and fall like the rest of us when life brings its trials. Norman Bates is a murderous lunatic and Poirot is an eccentric detective.
Each one of the unforgettable characters on my top ten list either embarks on an extraordinary journey or has a fascinating combination of quirks and character traits. They are irresistibly compelling. What is it that makes the characters on your top ten list unforgettable?
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