Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Characters Are Everything

Characters are everything. Although I can't find the book I purchased long ago by Dwight Swain, I recall a title similar to that by the renowned teacher.

When I first started writing, I didn't realize how very important characters are to story. I do have a book, Characters Make the Story, by another author on my book shelves, but I must confess I haven't read these books very carefully.

Characters make TV shows. That's for sure. I keep watching "House" because of the main character's harsh and unusual behavior traits. He is endearing in his own way. "The Mentalist" features another character with unusual traits I want to keep following. And I have fallen in love with many of the characters in "Friday Night Lights" and am looking forward to the first episode of the final season tomorrow evening.

How do you feel about the characters in your books? How about characters in the books you enjoy? Who is your favorite book character?

From now on, I plan to concentrate more on each character in my books. I want to create a character that readers want to continue to follow--a character who will make a series possible!

Now that's a big dream because I know now that characters are everything!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think characters are the most important part of the story.
And my favorite is Pendergast from Preston & Childs' books.

Enid Wilson said...

I'm addicted to Mr. Darcy. He's broody, constant and honorable.

My Darcy Mutates

KK Brees said...

It took me about two seasons to figure out that House is a parody. Once that hit me, everything about him fell into place.

Marian Allen said...

KK, I never thought of House as a parody. Want to expand on that as a guest post on my blog?

Monti, one of my favorite characters in literature is Steerpike, from Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. In fact, just about all the characters in the Gormenghast books are memorable, whether one likes them or not (and if you like Steerpike, there's something seriously wrong with you! lol!

In my own books, I do like my own characters and enjoy writing them--most of them. Some of the characters in my just-released EEL'S REVERENCE are pretty awful, and my only pleasure in writing them was in orchestrating their come-uppance!

Marian Allen

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Yes, KK, please expand on House as a parody. I would love to know more.

Marian, that must be awfully hard to do--write characters you don't like!

Alex and Enid, thanks for sharing your favorites!

Marian Allen said...

Writing characters I don't like is VERY hard! I have to, as actor Patrick Bauchau says, "advocate for them"; think about why they are the way they are. The ones I STILL don't like are the ones who have no acceptable excuse or any good qualities that weigh against the bad ones. Some people are just like that, you know? Their values are just so opposed to mine, I can't get into them. I have to struggle with those characters every step of the way, to keep from making them caricatures of eeeevillll.

That's what makes Peake's Steerpike such a great character: You understand where he's coming from, even though you hate where he's going with it.

Marian Allen

Daisy Hickman said...

Ah, this is rich terrain, Monti. Seems like those characters with endearing qualitites who struggle to be better despite flaws draw our admiration and interest. We just watched The Great Buck Howard ... Tom Hanks was in it, along w/his son. John Malkovich plays Buck -- definitely a character study! Not sure if the movie began as a book or short story, but we enjoyed it. Have a lovely day. --Daisy @ SunnyRoomStudio

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Daisy, for your comments. I appreciate everyone's thoughts on this intriguing subject!