Creating a Main Character Persona

Cary Grant

Last weekend I watched a Dyan Cannon interview in which she discussed the new movie, “Archie” (Cary Grant), and her marriage with him. When asked about the Cary Grant film persona, Cannon said that Archie Leach had picked attributes from multiple actors he admired and created the Cary Grant persona, which he perfected to became so famous and successful.

Here’s an article on the subject which confirmed Cannon’s assessment:

I had planned to start a discussion in March on “creating main characters” for a Friday TKZ post. I thought this would be the perfect time.

There are many excellent books available for new writers on the subject of creating characters. A quick look at my shelves reminded me of three of my favorites: JSB’s Writing Unforgettable Characters, Nancy Kress’s Dynamic Characters, and Nancy Kress’s Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint.

Today, to help beginning writers and readers, let’s focus on (a) the character attributes we have used in our own characters, or the character traits that are most likely to draw us to characters in someone else’s writing. And, (b) the books we found most helpful in the beginning of our writing careers to create such characters.


  1. What character attributes have you used in building main characters?
  2. What main character attributes are most likely to keep you reading?
  3. Which books did you find helpful in the beginning of your writing journey?

4 thoughts on “Creating a Main Character Persona

    • Thanks for participating, Warren. And my apologies for the empty house today. All of the comments from this morning disappeared at about 12:30 this afternoon.

      Excellent observation on Louis Lamour’s characters. That true grit encompasses a multitude of qualities.

      I hope you have a good weekend.

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