I have been doing a lot of reading in the past few weeks. Not only reading novels (The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene is a ripper), but I’ve also been reading about the craft of writing. There is an abundance of information on writing; books, websites, blogs, social media groups where one could get lost for weeks.
As a writer, as in any profession I imagine, you can never stop learning but you can also inhibit your progress. Too much reading can lead to doubting one’s own ability and talent, or lack thereof, but that’s something for another day.
Today I want to pose the question: What do you want from your characters?
(And for the purpose of this exercise I am talking about contemporary fiction, not fantasy or speculative fiction).
There seems to be two trains of thought.
Some want ordinary, everyday characters that they can relate to. Characters that you imagine live next door to you or who serve you in the supermarket or the bank. Characters dealing with everyday obstacles and real life challenges.
Others want extraordinary characters that are draw them into a new world, different from the readers everyday life.
My view is that no matter what your preference, all characters must be compelling and evoke emotion. The reader needs to be able to, not only visualize the character, but feel for them. Characters need to draw the reader in and make them want to invest in the story.
And therein lies the challenge of creating a perfect character!
So over to you.
What characters do you like to read about?
Do you want to be taken away from everyday life with your characters, into a world that you know little of ?
Or do you prefer you characters to be ordinary people on extraordinary but realistic journeys?