Blog chain time again! BTW, some of you have asked how to participate in the blog chain. This chain started when a group of friends from the QueryTracker forum decided to link together and discuss a set topic. We maintain a schedule, a rotation of who picks the topic and a general discussion board where we share real life things using RallyStorm. It really is quite fun, and if you're interested in more deets on how to start your own blog chain, shoot me an email. Or leave a comment here. Or PM me through Rally. Some of you are already there.
So back to the regularly scheduled programming. This chain is about one of my favorite topics - characters. Creating characters, reading about them, is what makes writing enjoyable. It's why I love to read. I love to see what other people will do in the face of impossible odds.
In your reading and writing, which do you prefer – a main character that is intriguing, or one that is likeable? Who are the characters that you love the most? And who are the ones that you love to hate?
Michelle started this chain, so go back to her blog to hear the specifics of her answer.
I’m going to start by springboarding off something she said. She was talking about Scarlett O’Hara and how she’s unlikable and yet we read. Well, I don’t. I haven’t read that. It was probably printed before I was born. I don’t normally read or watch movies that were made before I was born. Shallow, I know. I think I already had this “classics” confession.
Anyhow, that got me thinking of books I’ve read where I absolutely hated the main character. I know you know what I’m thinking of.
Okay, I'll just get it out there. I hate Bella. Really, really hate her. I was talking with my crit group last week and we discussed this for a few minutes. We all hated Bella, and most girls say they don’t like Bella either. So why do they read a book narrated by Bella?
Ahhh, Edward. And one girl (I think it was Stacy) said that the teen girls (and other women) read Twilight because they think they deserve Edward more than Bella, because Bella is just so stupid and unlikable. So if Edward likes her…he can like them—more.
People read Twilight because the real “hero” of the book is Edward, even though he’s not the one telling the story. He’s the likable one. The intriguing one. The one that keeps us turning pages. (At least until Book 4 when he turns into a complete and utter moron, but that is a post for another day in the far distant future.)
So I think that’s what it comes down to this: Who is the real hero of your book? Is it really the narrating character? Or is it someone else? No matter who it is, that’s the person that’s going to propel a reader through a book, which means you must have someone like that in your book. Even if it's not the narrating character.
So let’s see if I’ve answered the question (doubtful, I like tangents). Ha! I actually did--at least the likable and intriguing part.
So moving on to characters I love the most…hmm. I like the underdog who has spunk and guts and real emotions. Percy Jackson. Katniss in The Hunger Games. I also loved Rue in that book. Yes, Harry Potter and all the injustices he has to endure. Travis in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. He was the romantic one, the quiet guy who Mary loved. I like characters with flaws, but who work to overcome them.
Onto characers I hate. I don't think I do. Even Darth Vader--the villian, the epitome of evil--is a likable character. People like him so much they made three movies just to tell his story. So even villains can be intriguing and drive the reader to turn pages. (Or maybe I just like light sabers.) But really, he's a character we love to hate, because his past is so tragic. So we love him, yet we hate him at the same time.
If you can manage to write a character we love and root for (the hero) combined with another character we love to hate (the villain), and ultimately we want him to be defeated but it's still sad when he is, then you've found the winning combination of characters that will make your book a page-turner. Think Star Wars with Luke and Darth. Harry Potter with Harry and Voldemort.
That is all. Annie is up in the chain tomorrow, and I know she'll have something uber-awesome to say on this topic.
What do you think? Which characters do you like? Do they have to be likable? Intriguing? Does that person have to be the one telling the story? Which charcters do you have a love-hate relationship with? Why? What makes them so loveable and yet hateable at the same time? What kind of characters do you like to write?