That Special Something

>> Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I like characters. I make no bones about it. They're a favorite. It's what I read for, what I write for.

One thing that amazes me is how even bad books can have good characters, how characters you like don't have to be perfect (in fact, the best aren't), can make mistakes, have (very) checkered pasts, be funny, taciturn or whatever. But they have that special something, that spark that appeals to readers or audiences alike.

Take The Princess and the Frog. My world-weary teenager didn't want to watch it but, as a cruel parent, I made her. She fell in love with one of the characters and nearly cried late in the movie. I won't tell you why she cried, but the character was a little bug, a firefly with a huge glowing butt.

And I totally understand why she loved him. So did I. Only Disney and/or Pixar can make bugs that appealing.

In the Twilight books, I totally get Edward. Actually, I find the large number of teenage characters (Bella, Jacob, etc.) irksome and all teenagery, but Edward is 109 year old and I can completely understand where he's coming from. I get him. I don't care what the critics say. People who read those novels do so because they get some character or another.

That's the key. People have to "get" your character, identify with him or her. You do that, you put that in words, and they'll follow your character anywhere.

And that's why I write the way I do.


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