C is for Characters

C is for Characters!

What do you like to see most in characters that you read? For me, I like characters who do things. I don’t have much patience for those character-types that spend all their time weighing options and never making any decisions. And I think, unfortunately, that this is probably my number one issue with a lot of books I read and try to like, but end up being annoyed with.

I also think this is one of the big reasons I enjoy Meg Rosoff’s writing so much. Her characters are thrown into situations where they have to make choices and get things done. And they do. Daisy, in How I Live Now, for instance, could have spent an entire book series debating whether she should actually love Edmond. But she doesn’t. She loves him, lets the audience know it, and then gets on with more important matters. And I love her because of it!

So has this influenced my writing? Definitely. I can’t stand flip-floppers, so I don’t write them. That’s not to say that I haven’t written characters who have trouble making decisions, or that I haven’t written characters that annoy me(!), but I certainly keep in mind the thing that turns me away from reading a book, and make sure I avoid it as much as possible with my own characters.

What about you?

7 Responses so far.

  1. Brandon Ax says:
    Action characters are always nice. I like a good thoughtful character, but if they are stuck I get bored easy.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

  2. Characters are crucial! If you don't like your companions, you probably won't have much fun on the journey. Have fun with AtoZ!
  3. S.K. Anthony says:
    Characters drive the story. Plots are important but I don't care about it if I'm not invested in the characters. I haven't read Meg's work yet but based on this post I think I would enjoy it 🙂
  4. helenjameson says:
    One of my favorite characters is Stephanie Plum from the Evanovich series. Her dialogue is reflective of who she is…her situations are hilarious. I haven't read the last 3 books, but I enjoyed the prior novels.The most important thing is that the reader lives in the head of the MC.
  5. Bob Sanchez says:
    I like characters who are imperfect yet decent. And I agree, they should be active.
  6. I can't really say what makes me like a character. Sometimes I like to get a glimpse inside their minds through contemplation, and other times I like them to be go-getters and fuelled by action. But I think most of all I like them to be a bit odd. I can relate to that!
  7. Deshipley says:
    I like a varied cast that shows each character is distinctly him/herself, not just a generic somebody who could be just about /any/body. Seeing how different characters react to the same stimulus is good for showing that. I'm a big fan of individual personhood, so getting to watch fictional people uniquely shine is a treat for me. (:

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