Characters we love and hate.
As an author one of the first things we’re taught is to write characters readers will love, but as a reader I’ve often enjoyed characters who were less than loveable. Most versions I’ve read and seen in movies and on television of the great Sherlock Holmes is he’s a bit unfeeling, he’s narcissistic and at times even a bully, but the character is, if not loveable, he is definitely memorable. Another character many of us love to hate is Scrooge, and what about Darth Vader? For you Harry Potter fans Professor Snape?
When you think of some of your favorite characters in books and film, are they the heroes or villains? Do you enjoy a traditional hero, or do you find yourself aligning with the antihero? We watch a lot of action films, comic books turned to movies, and I love The Joker, Harley Quinn and Deadpool because they are fun and they are a lot bad and a little bit good, and they like to blow stuff up. But it’s often the backstory that makes us fall for a character even if they’re not exactly loveable. One of my favorite movies is Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel, I really love those two together. Goldie is a rich chic who lets her ego get in the way of doing the right thing and Kurt Russel gets the opportunity to pay her back but, it backfires and the two fall in love. When Goldie goes back to her rich-bitch world she doesn’t quite fit there anymore. We see her change and grow and become more the person she should be. Once that personality has exploded from the box, it’s like trying to stuff a blowup toy back in the package, it just doesn’t fit anymore, not even when you let the air out.
That’s what it takes to make a great character and as an author, I’m still learning. As a reader and viewer, I have found that any character who makes me feel something no matter their gender, sexual preference, ethnicity or period in history, it makes them relatable. If I can imagine myself as that person faced with those obstacles, that author or director has won me over. Whether I like them or hate them, they have garnered an emotional response and that will stay with me.
My friends and I recently went to the theater to see “Where the Crawdads Sing.” It’s a lovely movie and I’m dying to read the book. The main character is different, she’s not easy to relate to but you admire her spirit and her strength. As you see her striving to make it in a hostile world with only a few kind people to help her, you begin to wonder if you could have done this. At the end of the movie, when you see how her life has come to its end and the final secrets are revealed, there is an understanding, especially for women, that makes it very satisfying and brings the main character to a place of relatability.
Who are some characters that you find unforgettable? Why?
The Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer, her character Nick Merrick was so well-written that even years after reading this story, he comes to mind as one of the most unforgettable characters.
Nora Roberts J. D. Robb character Eve Dallas and Roarke, broken and put back together, these two are opposites in so many ways and yet the perfect balance for each other. They are crafted as two halves of a whole, yet each is a complete individual. I don’t know how Nora Roberts managed this but she is the master and I can not forget this couple.
Jayne Castle, Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick: the Joneses, no matter what generation or planet they are on, these men and sometimes women of the Jones family have leadership and paranormal abilities to give them strength, family honor and legends, and a weakness to overcome that often turns out to be their greatest strength.
Please share some of your favorite characters.
For my writing friends. I’m adding a list of YouTube videos for you to check out on crafting amazing characters.