In recent weeks, I read a lot about the building of characters, how to make sure they are believable, that readers can root for them, love or hate them…Here are some of the posts which got me to ponder (or smile):
- On Character Attributions by Stephanie S. Kuehn (on YAHighway)
- People have layers by Valerie Kemp (on Sisters in Scribe)
- Building Secondary characters by L.J. Boldyrev (on Sisters in Scribe)
- A Bunch of Articles on Character by Writer Musings
- Peach Has Got It! (Your Nintendo Guide to YA Female protagonist) & It’s-a Me, Mario! (Your Nintendo Guide to Male YA Protagonists) by Sarah Enni
After all, we all have flaws and so do the people in the novels we read. On top of my head, I am thinking about a trilogy by Catherine Hermary-Vieille in which the women are clearly not perfect but they are idealistic or cynical, secret, fragile but strong, they commit errors, sometimes do not learn from them until it is too late, they embrace their feminine side or reject it. While my characters may not be as extreme (I promise I will do a book review on her trilogy soon :-)), they need to be authentic.
“A writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
My “people” grow with the novel itself, they tell me their past as they react to events thrown at them. One of my main male protagonists, Aleksi, is rebellious, tender, cynical, loving, mysterious, funny, clearly hot, complicated, smart and charming (totally reminds me of my husband *Disclaimer: he is reading this blog* :-))
He would be a mix of:
Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and no Aleksi is not a vampire)
Pacey from Dawson’s creek
Dylan from Beverly Hills(the early episodes)
Now tell me 🙂 As a reader: what makes you fall in love with a character? As a writer: who does your male protagonist remind you of?
12 thoughts on “You’re not perfect but you’re perfect for my story…”
This is a perfect title! Loved this. Thanks.
Thanks Liza 🙂
I love character flaws. Perfect characters are boring. I want there to be something a little off, something to add a certain quality that makes the character unforgettable.
Perfection is boring…I also need the spice to really feel for the characters 🙂
You’ve got some great links, there! When I think of character development, I image my character as a blank slate and then begin to layer qualities that stand them up as an individual and those that hinder them. I keep going from there until their qualities (or lack of) enhance the story.
Thanks Salarsen and thanks for the tips as well 🙂
As a reader – I think I get attached more to characters I feel empathy for. Characters who have come from a bad place and turned it in their favour. Made the best out of a bad situation. I guess characters I wish i could be like – Whether that’s male of female.
As a writer I try to add quirks. We all have them. Thinkg we do automatically without even realising we do them, from a tick in the left eye when we get angry or blushing every time we hear the word foliage.
My characters too tell me their back story when differnt things happen. My MMC looked in the mirror and told me how his parents were killed and his baby sister died in his arms, when he was all of eight years old. It came out of no where, but I love that about my characters – they speak to me.
Thanks for sharing French Maiden 🙂 the way our characters respond to adversity and let us glimpse into their past is one of the reasons I love reading and writing 🙂 (wow your MC went through a lot at a young age!)
Characters I fall in love with. it’s an amorphous quality that these particular ones possess, but I know it when I see it.
And LOVE Dylan McKay! I was just thinking about him yesterday. Weird.
Dylan McKay early years…a fascinating character 🙂 sometimes the people in our novels are like the ones in real life, it just clicks 🙂
Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen Dawson’s Creek in ten years, but I’m not ashamed to admit I had a teenage crush on Pacey. Great thoughts, my characters, er – people, are so real in my head I might forget to translate to the page!
I´m with you there…I had a BIG teenage crush on Pacey. I´m also not ashamed to say I did watch the re-runs on TNT when I still lived in the US (and dear husband bought me all DVDs lol :-))…
I know what you mean with forgetting to translate to the page, that is sometimes something I struggle with as I need to remember my readers or not in my head 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to comment!