Saturday, March 6, 2010

Characters with character

I've been missing Grace, the MC of Entangled. She's a feisty one: complicated, self-absorbed and deeply unhappy. It was lots of fun to write about her. Well, most of the time. Sometimes it was pretty upsetting. But I liked her a lot, despite (or maybe because of) her flaws.

This makes me envious of writers who've written sequels or trilogies or even gazillions of books about the same characters (I'm thinking Gossip Girl here). This way you don't have to say goodbye to your lovely characters, you can get to know them better and explore their world further. And readers often enjoy reading aboutt he same characters too - it's less work, isn't it? You can just dive straight into the story, with none of that tricky getting-to-know-you bit.

I was thinking about what kind of characters I like to read about. My conclusion is: there's not one specific thing I look for. He/she just has to be INTERESTING. Possibly the best character I've come across recently is Riley Rose in Everything Beautiful, by Simmone Howell. Like Grace, she's flawed and deeply unhappy (but blimmin' hilarious with it). Riley is a fantastic creation, and I'd urge you all to read Everything Beautiful and get to know her.

So what do you like in a main character? Someone you can identify with, or someone completely different? Do you like NICE main characters, or those who are flawed and difficult? Do you prefer to read about girls or boys, or does it not matter?


  1. I don't mind which gender a main character is. I like reading about quirky people who are a little different. I like to be able to relate to at least one part of a character's personality. What I can't stand is an absolute goody-goody or someone who whinges. No one likes a moaner!

  2. Hello and thank you! (or RIley thanks you b/c sometimes she seems real enough to me to do her own pr!) I like the idea of a character that people are already telling stories about ... someone with A PAST. Riley started off as an extension of Lo, the mysterious leader/cutter from my first book Notes from the Teenage Underground but Lo was almost too dark to get my head around ...I went to a posh school for awhile and when I started I remember hearing stories about a girl who'd just been expelled - everyone had stories about her but the one I remember is this: houses backed the oval at the school and one of them had a pristine swimming pool. SO it was one of those hot days and everyone was sitting on the oval, roasting, and this girl just decided to jump the fence and go swimming. Her attitude was like: it's there so I'll have it... I never met her but I wondered about her for years...

    I loved Isobel in Sarra Manning's Let's Get Lost and Daisy in How I Live Now ... and Dally in the Outsiders...

  3. Becky- I find too-good-to-true characters hard to deal with too (unless they have a dark secret of course).

    Simmone- 'Characters with a past' is a great way of putting it. Have just ordered a copy of Notes to find out more about Lo! I'm officially intrigued.

    I need to read some Sarra Manning too, so I think I'll start with Let's Get Lost. Ta for the recs!

  4. I like characters with a leetle self-awareness - or if they start out with none, then to develop some along the way. I can't stand characters who just act as a vessel for the story - one that never gets affected by the events around them, but you could swill out at the end of the book and use again somewhere else just as easily.

    There's on exception to this self-awareness rule, and that's Donald Zinkoff in Jerry Spinelli's fabulous Loser. Donald's innocence is the whole point of his story. And without it the book wouldn't be nearely so amazing.

  5. I used to like the same type of character. Now I read more widely, I'll read people who are totally different to me and how I'd like them to be :)