Unique Characters

This week I've been working on the design of a new novel called:  "Change Agent."  This go around, I've run into what is, for me, a new challenge.

In my other novels, I've never had any trouble developing unique characters.  I've simply selected traits from among the many personality types I've seen in corporations, exaggerating them a bit, and then tossed them together in sometimes unlikely combinations.  For the first time, I'm beginning to feel that this source may not be endless.

I've enjoyed the work of many other authors over the years, but sometimes tire of their work as I read more and more of their books.  One of the biggest problems is that the characters seem to blend together.  I noticed this for the first time when I read the Alexander Kent's seafaring adventure series featuring Richard Bolitho.  It seemed like all the supporting characters were the same going from one book to the next.

In fact, the plots also seemed quite similar, as did some of the descriptive phrases -- how many times can "blood run down the scuppers?"

Since the experience with Kent's work, I've noticed this problem with other writers, as well.

I'm endeavoring to avoid this phenomena with my novels, this despite the fact that several of them are now organized into (short) series.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to look elsewhere (other than my work experience) if I want to keep coming up with unique characters.  Currently searching for inspiration....